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What's in the sippy cup? High arsenic levels found in fruit juice

As a parent, you are rightfully concerned about what you give your child to eat and drink. You want to give your children nutritious foods and may believe that juice is the healthier alternative to soda pop, but a recent study has revealed higher arsenic levels than what is allowed in drinking water in many fruit juices. Now, it seems, fruit juice may be considered a potentially dangerous product.

Consumer Reports revealed they found high arsenic levels in brands including Welch's, Walgreens, Great Value, Apple & Eve, and Mott's when they analyzed 88 samples of apple and grape juices. Five samples had more arsenic than the maximum level of arsenic allowed in water -- 10 parts per billion. Although there are currently no regulations for arsenic levels in fruit juices, Consumer Union is arguing that this report should be used to push for federal limits on arsenic in juice.

One-fourth of all of the samples met or exceeded the federal limit of arsenic for water, and the 88 samples came from juice boxes, concentrated juice cans and ready-to-drink bottles, some of the many forms of juice parents give their children.

Even with the study's revelation, a spokesperson for the Juice Products Association said the producers should not be held to the regulations for arsenic in water.

Arsenic is found naturally in water, soil, food and air, and can also be found in contaminated areas. Despite its natural occurrence, if humans are exposed to certain levels of the substance, it can cause nausea, discoloration of the skin, irritation of the lungs and throat, and vomiting. Extremely high levels of arsenic can also cause death. Consumer Reports noted its concerns about the long-term exposure to children of these high levels of arsenic. It is possible that children could become exposed to serious health issues, including specific types of cancer.

Source: Reuters, "Arsenic levels in fruit juice spark concern: study," Nov. 30, 2011

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