Thursday, January 31, 2019

Children's Fruit Juice a Worrisome Source of Heavy Metals Like Lead, Arsenic and Cadmium

photo credit:  Motts

Do your kids drink fruit juice?   If you do you are not alone; the great majority of parents in the US still give their children, ages three and under, fruit juices at least once a day.   Did you know that fruit juice is not really healthy?   Parents that know this usually cite the fact that it is packed with sugar and has been linked to the increasing obesity crisis in the US.  What many parents don't realize is that fruit juice, in the past, has been found to be a source of arsenic - a harmful heavy metal.   

Now, a new study by Consumer Reports has once again tested fruit juices and found many popular brands containing potentially harmful levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

What they found:
  • Consumer Reports tested over 45 juices, most of them specifically marketed towards children
  • BRands tested were:
    • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods), 
    • 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
  • Juices tested included: apple, grape, pear, and fruit blends—
  • All were from concentrate
  • Almost half had “ elevated levels of heavy metals”
  • Levels were elevated enough that “ “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.
  • (47 percent) of the juices had concerning levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead
  • Seven tested juices could harm children who drink just 4 ounces (½ cup) or more a day; nine of them pose risks to kids at 8 ounces (1 cup) or more a day.
  • Grape juice and juice blends had the highest average heavy metal levels.
  • Organic juices did not have lower levels of heavy metals than conventional ones
  • Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice had three samples that tested highest at an average of 15.4 ppb for inorganic arsenic,

Why should we worry about heavy metals

The heavy metals found in these fruit juices - which included lead, cadmium and arsenic are all neurotoxins. Even low levels of exposure to neurotoxins can affect young children. Heavy metals have been linked to lowered IQ, behavioral problems (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), heart disease, type 2 diabetes, fertility problems, kidney disease and cancer, among other health issues.

Of special concern is the cumulative effects that a child might have when exposed to low levels of different heavy metals, through various sources. This is quite probably happening to many children since may common children's foods actually contain arsenic and other heavy metals; We know that heavy metals have also been found in infant and toddler foods, rice and rice products, protein powder, some types of fish, and sweet potatoes.

As Consumer Reports scientists put it “ The amounts of heavy metals in any one type of food may be low, but because heavy metals are found in other foods and the environment—and because they tend to accumulate in the body—small amounts can add up. In fact, in some juices the heavy metal levels left little to no room for exposure from other sources, such as drinking water, food, and air”

Why do these juices contain heavy metals?

While our drinking water has limits on how much heavy metals can be present, there are no standards that limit some heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium in fruit juice. Back in 2013 when CR found arsenic in grape and apple juice, the Food and Drug Administration proposed limiting inorganic arsenic in apple juice to 10 parts per billion (ppb), the federal arsenic standard for drinking water. The FDA previously told CR that limit would be set by the end of 2018. But it is still not in place.

There are guidelines set by the FDA for lead in juice, but it is 50 ppb much higher than limits for bottled water which has a limit of 5 ppb. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the limit for lead should be 1 ppb

Why are these heavy metals in juice?

Naturally occurring elements such as lead and arsenic can be present in the soil, air, and water.  Often, these metals enter the food supply through pollution, mining, pesticides, or other human activities

When a fruit or vegetable grows in soil that contains these heavy metals they too grow with some level of these contaminants.

Certified organic produce does not treat for heavy metals which is why organic fruits and vegetables can contain heavy metals too.

Companies, however,  can  reduce heavy metals in juice- and they have. As Consumer Reports reports , Gerber was able to reduce their inorganic arsenic level by 79 percent since 2011, and its lead level dropped by 97 percent. This has been achieved by careful sourcing and the fact that they “ now purify the water used in its juices through reverse osmosis, a method that can reduce, though not eliminate, certain heavy metals.”

What does this mean for you and your children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says parents should avoid giving children younger than 1 year old any fruit juice. After that, the daily maximum amounts are: 1- to 3-year-olds, 4 ounces; 4- to 6-year-olds, 6 ounces; 7 years and older, 8 ounces.

Parents concerned with heavy metals in fruit juice, however, should just not serve their kids fruit juice.

Drinking one at a birthday party will not harm them, however for every day hydration stick to water. Getting children used to water from an early age will prove to be a great health benefit later in life too.

According to Consumer Reports
These juices are “ better alternatives”
  1. 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  2. Apple & Eve 100% Juice, Apple Juice1
  3. Big Win (Rite Aid) 100% Juice, Apple Juice
  4. Clover Valley (Dollar General) 100% Apple Juice
  5. Gerber Apple 100% Juice
  6. Market Pantry (Target) 100% Juice, Apple
  7. Mott's 100% Juice, Apple Original
  8. Mott's for Tots Apple
  9. Nature's Own 100% Apple Juice
  10. Old Orchard 100% Juice, Apple
  11. Simply Balanced (Target) Organic Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  12. Tree Top 100% Apple Juice 2
  13. Goya Pear Nectar
  14. Looza Pear Juice Drink


  1. Gold Emblem (CVS) 100% Apple Juice
  2. Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Apple
  3. Trader Joe's Organic Apple Juice
  4. 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Concord Grape 1
  5. Risk to adults at 1 cup or more; children at ½ cup
  6. Gerber White Grape Juice
  7. Gold Emblem (CVS) 100% Grape Juice
  8. R.W. Knudsen Organic Pear 100% Juice
  9. 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Grape Cranberry 1
  10. Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Cranberry Grape 1
  11. Juicy Juice 100% Juice, White Grape
  12. Trader Joe's Organic Apple Grape Juice

  1. Trader Joe's Fresh Pressed Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  2. 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Concord Grape
  3. R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord Grape Juice
  4. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Concord Grape
  5. Welch's 100% Grape Juice, White Grape
  6. Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Cranberry Grape
  7. Welch's 100% Juice with Antioxidant Superberry

  1. Trader Joe's Joe's Kids Apple Juice
  2. Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice
  3. Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  4. Minute Maid 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  5. Mott's 100% Juice, Apple White Grape

Consumer Reports said their findings are a "spot check" and "should not be used to draw definitive conclusions about specific brands."


  1. I can’t find information regarding Homear Kids test results.

  2. So is honest kids okay? Since It's not on the list?