FDA On Arsenic In Apple Juice: 'The Dr. Oz Show' Study Prompts New Limitations On Cancer-Causing Chemical [REPORT]
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has finally proposed to limit arsenic in apple juice. After decades of consideration, the government suggests limiting arsenic in apple juice to 10 parts per billion, or ppb, the same standard U.S. drinking water is held to. This represents a marked decrease from the current 23 ppb threshold for juice drinks.
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Although the FDA has already found apple juice to contain trace amounts of the cancer-causing chemical, it's only now decided to limit the amount of inorganic arsenic juice can contain.
According to a study conducted by Dr. Oz, about 10 percent of apple juice and grape juice samples had arsenic levels above the 10 part per billion the EPA allows for drinking water.
"After testing dozens of samples from three different cities in America, Dr. Oz discovered that some of the nation's best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic," Dr. Oz reports. The show tested samples of apple juice from brands like Mott's, Apple & Eve, Gerber and Juicy Juice.
Sixty percent of the apple juice concentrate in U.S. apple juice comes from China. Unlike the U.S., arsenic-containing pesticides may not be regulated in other countries.
In response to the Dr. Oz tests, which were conducted back in 2011, juice companies released statements outlining their distrust of the Dr. Oz testing methods, as well as what they said were the hyperbolic claims Dr. Oz made about chemicals in juice. "Dr. Oz used a testing methodology that was designed for water, and not in compliance with specific US FDA testing procedures for fruit juice," Apple & Eve said.
Still, the FDA has independently recognized that apple juice contains arsenic.
Arsenic is an element that occurs naturally in the environment and is widely distributed throughout the earth's crust. Soil and minerals contain the chemical, as does air and water. Arsenic is present in both an organic form -- the less harmful state of arsenic created when the chemical combines with carbon and hydrogen in animals and plants -- and in an inorganic one -- formed by its combining with oxygen, chlorine and sulfur.
Inorganic arsenic is used mainly as a preservative for wood. Organic arsenic is used primarily in pesticides on cotton fields and orchards.
Most people exposed to higher levels of arsenic come in contact with the chemical in the workplace, near hazardous waste sites, or in areas with high natural levels of arsenic. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, breathing high levels of inorganic arsenic can result in sore throat and irritated lungs. Ingesting high levels of the chemical can cause death.
Lower levels of arsenic ingestion can cause vomiting and nausea, abnormal heart rhythm, damage to blood vessel and a "pins and needle" sensation in hands and feet. The chemical can also cause darkening of the skin and the appearnance of small corns or warts on the palms, soles and torso. From the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry:
Several studies have shown that ingestion of inorganic arsenic can increase the risk of skin cancer and cancer in the liver, bladder, and lungs. Inhalation of inorganic arsenic can cause increased risk of lung cancer. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the EPA have determined that inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that inorganic arsenic is carcinogenic to humans.
Reuters reports that the FDA's decision to limit arsenic in apple juice was applauded by non-profit group Consumer Reports, which called the decision a "reasonable first step" towards protecting consumers from arsenic poisoning.
Even the FDA"s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, Michael Taylor, weighed in, saying in a blog post: "This action level will keep any apple juice that may have more inorganic arsenic than that out of the marketplace."
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