The results of a recent study have driven an uproar from the public regarding FDA regulations and consumer safety. This week, there have been multiple discussions on ABC, USA Today, Doctor Oz, and many other news mediums concerning the safety of one of the most highly used products in America: apple juice. It has now been disclosed that fruit juices may contain dangerous levels of arsenic.
Arsenic is an element that can be lethal to both humans and other organisms. Although it occurs naturally in the environment, the manipulation of mankind has made it one of the most dangerous poisons that is now found in every day things such as glass, wood, and food. Lenntech Water Treatment Solutions says the following about the health effects of arsenic:
Exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause various health effects, such as irritation of the stomach and intestines, decreased production of red and white blood cells, skin changes and lung irritation. It is suggested that the uptake of significant amounts of inorganic arsenic can intensify the chances of cancer development, especially the chances of development of skin cancer, lung cancer, liver cancer and lymphatic cancer.
A very high exposure to inorganic arsenic can cause infertility and miscarriages with women, and it can cause skin disturbances, declined resistance to infections, heart disruptions and brain damage with both men and women.
Finally, inorganic arsenic can damage DNA.
According to the Dr. Oz website, most drinking water in the United Stated contains about 10 parts per billion. At least 10% of tested apple juice samples contained about 23 parts per billion or higher, more than twice the drinking water standard. Arsenic is carefully regulated in the U.S. because it is so highly toxic, so how can arsenic levels in juice possibly be so high?
There is a simple answer. A very large portion of the products that Americans use every day are imported from other countries; up to 60% of juice concentrate is imported from china alone. Although regulations on the substance are strict in the United States, many countries have little or no regulations. The United states also has import regulations that may differ from those for products made in the states. This means that water used to irrigate crops may be tainted with high levels of arsenic and other toxins attributed to pesticides. The plants, which absorb arsenic and other poisons easily, eventually make it into our refrigerators.
Obviously, most of us feel completely fine. So what’s the big deal?
One of the most frightening concerns this brings up is the safety of our children. Anyone who is a parent knows that children are some of the biggest juice drinkers out there. I witness my siblings drink multiple glasses almost every day. Such large amounts of juice that can possibly contain toxins can be harmful to young bodies that are not yet able to filter them out. What disturbs me most is the fact that the two juices that my siblings consume the most, Juicy Juice and Gerber, contain the highest levels of arsenic in the study. In fact, Gerber is owned by Novartis, a pharmaceutical company that is also know for putting mercury in flu shots.
The point is, few of us know what is is we are feeding our children and consuming ourselves. Although the FDA is a great organization that can protect us, we should be doing our own additional research on the products we use.
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