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Scientists Discover Elevated Levels of Toxic Metals in Fruit Juices and Soft Drinks

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A Tulane University study found that certain popular beverages contain levels of toxic metals that exceed federal drinking water standards, posing potential health risks, especially for children.

A recent study conducted by Tulane University found that certain popular beverages contain toxic metals in amounts that exceed federal standards for safe drinking water.

The study tested 60 beverages, five of which were found to contain levels of certain toxic metals higher than levels considered safe by federal standards. The report noted that two assorted juices were found to contain levels of arsenic that exceeded the standard of 10 micrograms per liter. Additionally, cranberry juice, mixed fruit and carrot juice, and oat milk were found to contain cadmium levels above the 3 ppb standard.

Twenty-five toxic metals and trace elements were determined in sample beverages such as single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milks, sodas, and teas commonly found in grocery stores. Mixed fruit juices and plant-based milks (such as oats and almonds) often contained higher levels of toxic metals than other beverages, according to findings published in . Journal of Food Composition Analysis.

Overall, 7 out of 25 elements, including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic and selenium, exceeded drinking water standards in some beverages. Lead was detected in over 93% of the 60 samples, but most samples he had very low levels of lead, less than 1 ppb. The highest level (6.3 micrograms/kg) was found in a lime sports drink, which is below EPA and WHO drinking water standards.

Tewodros Godebo, lead author and assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said the study is important because there are few peer-reviewed studies examining the content of American beverages. Stated.

“I was surprised that there isn’t much research done on toxic or essential elements in soft drinks in the United States,” Godebo said. “This creates a realization that more research is needed.”

Because these soft drinks are often consumed in smaller amounts than water, they are likely to pose a lower health risk for adults. But Godebo said parents should be careful about what drinks they give their children.

“You should avoid giving infants and toddlers large amounts of mixed fruit juices and plant-based milks,” says Godebo. “Arsenic, lead and cadmium are known carcinogens and are well established to cause visceral damage and cognitive impairment in children, especially during early brain development.”

Godebo said most of these elements in the beverage probably come from contaminated soil.

“These metals are naturally occurring, so they’re difficult to completely remove,” Godebo says.

Tulane University students Hannah Stoner and Julia Ashmeade, who participated in the study, said they hope the findings will inspire people to think more about what they consume.

“I don’t think you should be afraid,” Stoner said. “When it comes to toxicity, dosing often makes a difference, so let’s all moderate it. But this raises the awareness that more research is needed.”

Godebo said the next step would be to conduct a risk assessment based on the data collected to see the effects of ingesting toxic metals in children and adults.

“We are interested in continuing to explore what is in the beverages and foods that are marketed to consumers,” Godebo said.

Reference: “Toxic Metal and Essential Element Contents in US Commercial Fruit Juices and Other Nonalcoholic Beverages,” Tewodros Rango Godebo, Hannah Stoner, Madeline Pechilis, Hadley Taylor-Arnold, Julia Ashmead, Leah Claman, Liam Guest, Will Consolati, Oona DiMatteo, Madison Johnson, Calista Cowden, Danny Shafferman, Evan Gordon, Hayden Dillman, Nati Huang, Aaron Tegan, Sandra Vasquez Garrido, Eames Hurd, 2023 February 20, Journal of Food Composition Analysis.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jfca.2023.105230

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