Dr. Oz and the Wonderful World of Arsenic

The Controversy

Last Fall Dr. Oz sparked some controversy when he talked about the levels of arsenic in apple juice. The FDA and some other experts claimed that he didn’t do the right tests and that the apple juice didn’t exceed allowable amounts of arsenic. Really? There are allowable amounts of arsenic? The apple juice brands Dr. Oz looked at were Minute Maid, Apple & Eve, Mott’s, Juicy Juice, and Gerber. Apparently you have to have less than 10 parts of arsenic per billion. The tests Dr. Oz had done through an independent laboratory showed that 4 of the 5 brands had samples testing higher than the 10 parts per billion (everyone but Minute Maid) with Gerber being the worst. Which of course scared everyone even more as Gerber is known for its baby food. He was chastised for not testing the organic and inorganic arsenic separately.

Natural and Organic?

Essentially Safe – NOT
Which brings us to the fact that arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral, but like many things found in nature, not necessarily something we should be INGESTING. Arsenic was used in pesticides in the U.S. up to 1970. The problem is that many of the apple concentrates used in our apple juices come from China and other countries that have NOT banned arsenic in their pesticides. The FDA calls organic arsenic “essentially harmless” (personally I’d prefer if they used the words totally safe” instead) but admitted problems can occur with the inorganic version.

See Dr. Oz Answers Your Questions About Apple Juice.

Here is the FDA’s version: Questions & Answers: Apple Juice and Arsenic

FDA Regulation
Even people who didn’t agree with the testing methods Dr. Oz used, are calling for the FDA to better regulate apple juice concentrate and other foods coming in from china.
Sen. Schumer calls on FDA to set arsenic standards in juices

Consumer Reports to the Rescue

Just last month Consumer Reports presented their own investigation into the arsenic-in-juice controversy. Their investigation into arsenic in apple and grape juice was very revealing. They compared arsenic levels (apparently measuring both organic and inorganic arsenic) to the FDA standards set for water; the FDA has no standards set for juice by the way. 10% of their samples from 5 brands had arsenic levels higher than allowed for drinking water. One in 4 samples had lead levels higher than allowed in bottled water. They also found that 35% of children 5 and younger drink more juice than is recommended by pediatricians. Arsenic juice. How scary is that? The report also said that we may be getting exposure through other foods in our diet. Read the report here: Arsenic in your juice – How much is too much? Federal limits don’t exist.

Dr. Oz Arsenic in Apple Juice Update – Pt. 5

2 Responses to “Dr. Oz and the Wonderful World of Arsenic”

  • Brendan:

    I think that this is a great issue to bring up, especially because Arsenic is not something that many people realize is both naturally occurring and artificially from manufacturing processes. The fact that there is no standard yet for fruit juices is disconcerting. Regardless, of if we are talking about organic or inorganic arsenic, they are both harmful to us. Arsenic, even in extremely small amounts, consumed over a long period of time has very bad health effects to humans, it leads to skin lesions and makes the body more susceptible to cancer and several non-cancer diseases. Not to mention that in young children, there have been numerous studies that indicate the consumption of arsenic can lead to underdevelopment of both cognitive and motor skills.

    • admin:

      Thank you for the additional information! It’s incredible to me that we don’t specifically know what chemicals were added to our food during any of the processing…