Source: Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports (CR) tested 45 popular fruit juices sold across the counter, including apple, grape, pear, and fruit blends, and found elevated levels of the heavy metals — lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic in almost half of them, including juices marketed for children. More than 80 percent of parents of children age 3 and younger give their kids fruit juice at least sometimes, according to a recent national Consumer Reports survey of 3,002 parents. In 74 percent of those cases, kids drink juice once a day or more.
Heavy metals can harm adults, too. “Five of the juices we tested pose a risk to adults at 4 or more ounces per day, and five others pose a risk at 8 or more ounces,” says James Dickerson, Ph.D., CR’s chief scientific officer.
Depending on how long children are exposed to these toxins and how much they are exposed to, they may be at risk for lowered IQ, behavioral problems (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), type 2 diabetes, and cancer, among other health issues.
We looked at 45 juices in four flavors: apple (22), fruit juice blends (13), grape (7), and pear (3). Twenty-four national, store, and private-label brands were represented. Most were from concentrate, meaning that all water was removed from the pressed fruit for transport, then added back in at the factory.
• Every product had measurable levels of at least one of these heavy metals: cadmium, inorganic arsenic, lead, or mercury.
• Twenty-one (47 percent) of the 45 juices had concerning levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead.
• Seven of those 21 juices could harm children who drink 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.
The best way to reduce your child’s exposure to heavy metals in fruit juice is to limit how much fruit juice they drink. “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. “Many perceive fruit juice as healthy, but it is not a good substitute for fresh fruit” he adds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that 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.
Click here and scroll down for a listing of the safest fruit juices.