Some juice brands contain risky heavy metals

Some juice brands contain risky heavy metals

Heavy metals are risky to both children and adults, but more so to children because they're still developing. Of those, 74% drink juice once a day, found a Consumer Reports survey.

That's part of the problem, according to Consumer Reports: the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have a proposed limit for cadmium in juice and has not finalised the one it has proposed for inorganic arsenic in apple juice.

"Some foods are more likely than others to contain toxic heavy metals, and it's important to minimize these foods in your family's meals", says Amy Keating, a nutritionist at CR. Consumer Reports has recommended that the FDA set a cutoff of 3 ppb, but it's unclear when or if the FDA will finalize the standard.

The 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. Over many years, even modest amounts of heavy metals in adults may raise the risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer; cognitive and reproductive problems; and type 2 diabetes, among other conditions.

And as the FDA points out, these heavy metals enter the food supply when plants take them up as they grow. Cadmium has shown an increased risk for bone damage and kidney disease.

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CBS News reached out to all of the juice companies. The average lead levels were higher than 5 ppb. A Welch's spokesperson said, "All Welch's juice is safe and strictly complies with all applicable legal requirements". Heavy metals are naturally found in the environment, but much of the heavy metals in food come from soil or water that's been contaminated through pollution, mining or pesticides. And organic juices were no better.

The new report, published today, found lower levels across the board, but the chemists who conducted the investigation said the levels are still higher than they should be.

It is not the first time Consumer Reports has investigated metals in fruit juice.

Persistent exposure to these heavy elements, particularly early in a child's development, can have longstanding effects throughout their life; respiratory systems, their neurological systems; their immune systems are all developing, so having those exposures at those ages can have very profound effects.

By Consumer Reports' measures, the worst offenders were seven bottled juices identified as potentially causing harm to children with as little as 4 ounces per day and five juice boxes or pouches that could prove harmful at more than one box or pouch a day. "We are encouraged by this progress and believe that FDA oversight and industry responsiveness will continue to drive innovation leading to reductions in exposure".