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Arsenic in Apple Juice May Be Problem After All, Says FDA

Apples next to a cup of juiceThe FDA may owe Dr. Oz an apology. Back in September, the government agency called a segment that aired on the Dr. Oz Show “irresponsible and misleading” for warning viewers that many brands of apple juice contain levels of arsenic higher than the acceptable minimum for drinking water. The FDA criticized the show, which found that 10 different samples to be unsafe, for not differentiating between toxic inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic, considered to be safe. Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen that is found in some pesticides and wood treatments, and there is no federal limit set for the amount that can acceptably found in fruit juices.

However, the FDA is considering reversing its position on arsenic in juice, as mounting evidence is corroborating with Dr. Oz’s findings. Consumer Reports found that about ten percent of the apple and grape juice they tested contained more total arsenic than then acceptable levels for drinking water, which is less than 10 parts per billion (ppb). Out of 88, they found total levels of arsenic that ranged 5.9 to 24.7 ppb from 1.1 to 13.9 ppb for apple juice. Furthermore, the majority of this arsenic was shown to be cancer-causing inorganic form.


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Arsenic in Your Apple Juice: Dangerous or Perfectly Safe?

If you are one of the many parents now second guessing your decision to pack a juice box in your child’s lunch tomorrow, you are not alone. In a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show, national health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz claimed that apple juice not only contains arsenic, but levels much higher than what is deemed safe for our drinking water.

According to an independent study conducted on behalf of the Dr. Oz Show, ten of the three dozen apple juices sampled came back with an arsenic level higher than the amount allowed in drinking water. Of these, Gerber, Juicy Juice, and Mott’s were three of the highest with 36 parts per billion, 22 parts per billion, and 16 parts per billion reported, respectively.

Yet, despite these results, the FDA wants you to feel assured that pouring a glass of apple juice is still safe to do. In fact, the FDA claims there is no public health risk associated with drinking apple juice and that they have been performing safety checks for years to ensure that what we drink is indeed safe.

A safety level for arsenic has not been set for juices and although this may seem alarming, the FDA states that the type of arsenic primarily found in juices is organic arsenic, an essentially harmless form. In the case of water, the primary source is inorganic arsenic which is the form typically considered to negatively impact health when consumed in large quantities.


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Cleaning up for spring

Whether you’ve done it or just heard about it, doing a cleanse is a hot and popular undertaking these days. Even though cleanses have been around for hundreds of years, a few like The Master Cleanse have enjoyed some time in the spotlight recently. The purpose of a cleanse varies. Some do it to clean out their system of toxins, others do it to lose weight and still others undergo this feat of discipline to improve their energy and sense of well being.

The kind of cleanse varies also. From all-juice fasts to eating just vegetables, most cleanses rely on just a few staple foods to get you through a predetermined amount of time. Typically, cleanses occur at the change of seasons like the shift that we are experiencing now of ushering in spring as we say farewell to winter.

Most Western medical professionals find cleanses unnecessary since they believe the human body has an innate system to rid itself of unwanted sludge. However, many health professionals, usually those with an alternative health focus, promote cleansing as a necessary part of maintaining and improving health. If you’re thinking about doing a cleanse, it’s safe to consult with a health practitioner who helps guide people through a cleanse. He or she can help you choose a cleanse that fits your energy needs and your ultimate goal.

I’ve done one cleanse in my life. It lasted for three days. The first day I ate nothing but fruit and vegetables and the remaining two days, I drank nothing but fruit or vegetable juices. At the end, I felt pretty darn good. So much so that I swore off of sugar and anything remotely processed for about a month afterwards. Not bad for a first time cleanser. I’m thinking about doing it again in the coming weeks to herald in spring. If you have a cleansing experience you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you.