Inorganic arsenic, the form most likely to cause cancer, occurs naturally in the earth and is released into ground water that travels through rocks and soil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits the amount of trace arsenic allowable in drinking water to 10 parts per billion (ppb).However, arsenic has also been found in other drinks and foods, for which no safety limit has been set, raising concerns about overexposure through the diet.
Juices and Foods Tainted with Arsenic
This past summer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a "voluntary suspension" of the arsenic-laced drug Roxarsone, which has been widely used on chickens raised in CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) to control an intestinal parasite.More recently, an investigation into arsenic and lead levels in apple- and grape juice prompted Consumer Reports to call for government standards to limit consumer exposure.Ten percent of the 88 juice samples tested by Consumer Reports had arsenic levels exceeding the U.S. federal drinking-water standard. A quarter of them also had lead levels higher than the 5 ppb limit set for bottled water."The investigation included an analysis of the National Center for Health Statistics' National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) database from 2003 to 2008.The results of that analysis suggest that these juices may be an important contributor to dietary arsenic exposure.Through interviews with physicians and authors of peer-reviewed studies, Consumer Reports also found mounting scientific evidence suggesting that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below federal standards for water can result in serious health problems, especially for those who are exposed in the womb or during early childhood. FDA data and other research reveal that arsenic has been detected at disturbing levels in other foods as well.… In addition to juice, foods including chicken, rice, and even baby food have been found to contain arsenic -- sometimes at higher levels than the amounts found in juice ..."