Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals Found In Organic Fruit Juices

Whole Foods made the list.

Harmful Levels of Heavy Metals Found In Organic Fruit Juices
Credit: iStock/LunaMarina

Harmful levels of arsenic and heavy metals may be hiding in your kid’s fruit juice, warns a new report from Consumer Reports.

The group tested 45 popular fruit juice products sold in the U.S. including apple, grape, pear, and juice blends. Organic items tested just as high as conventional. Samples were taken from 24 national, store, and private-label brands including Whole Foods private label 365 Everyday Value, Apple & Eve, Big Win (Rite Aid), Capri Sun, Clover Valley (Dollar General), Great Value (Walmart), Gerber, Good2Grow, Gold Emblem (CVS), Goya, Honest Kids, Juicy Juice, Looza, Market Pantry (Target), Minute Maid, Mott’s, Nature’s Own, Ocean Spray, Old Orchard, R.W. Knudsen, Simply Balanced (Target), Trader Joe’s, Tree Top, and Welch’s.

The research found “measurable levels” of heavy metals in every product, including juice boxes; every product contained at least one of the metals cadmium, inorganic arsenic, lead, or mercury. Grape juice tested highest overall.

Nearly half of the items sampled contained elevated levels of heavy metals. Consumer Reports tested for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic (the type most harmful to health) because the group says they pose “some of the greatest risks.” They also tend to be the heavy metals most common in food items.

“In some cases, drinking just 4 ounces a day—or half a cup—is enough to raise concern,” says James Dickerson, Ph.D., CR’s chief scientific officer.

Seventy-four percent of American parents say they offer their children fruit juice drinks at least once a day and more than 80 percent give juice on occasion. 

“Exposure to these metals early on can affect their whole life trajectory,” says Jennifer Lowry, M.D., chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health. “There is so much development happening in their first years of life.”

Exposure to heavy metals can lead to lowered IQ levels, behavioral problems, type-2 diabetes, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

Consumer Reports recommends limiting a child’s exposure to heavy metal-containing foods as well as juice. “Some foods are more likely than others to contain toxic heavy metals, and it’s important to minimize these foods in your family’s meals,” says Amy Keating, R.D., a nutritionist at CR. “This is yet another reason to provide your child with a healthy and varied diet of whole foods.”

To view the full report, click here.

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