Apple juice, one of the mainstays of kids’ fare in the US, has come under fire lately due to testing that found high levels of arsenic. Amidst these allegations, Consumer Reports conducted our own investigation and found problematic levels of arsenic – as well as lead –  in many of the juices tested.

No federal standards currently exist for levels of arsenic or lead in fruit juice, although they do for bottled and drinking water.  Consumer Reports labs conducted tests on 88 samples of apple and grape juice, and found that 10% of juices sampled had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and 25 percent of the samples had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled water limit of 5 ppb.

Studies show that continual exposure to arsenic and lead, even at low levels, can result in serious long-term health problems, particularly for the smaller, developing bodies of children.  Pediatricians currently recommend limiting the amount of juice that children drink to prevent tooth decay and weight gain, but the Consumer Reports findings present “all the more reason to stick with those nutrition-based limits,” according to the article.

So what’s a parent to do?  First of all, stick with these American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines:

  • No juice for infants under 6 months
  • Children up to six years old should consume no more than four to six ounces per day.
  • Older children should drink no more than eight to 12 ounces a day.

Parents may also want to dilute juice with distilled or purified water.

The FDA recently stated that they’re considering setting guidelines for arsenic levels in juice.  Consumer Reports strongly encourages this, and recommends limits of 3ppb for arsenic and a 5 ppb limit for lead.

Take a minute to tell the FDA that you support setting limits on these toxins in juice immediately.