A Consumer Reports test of 45 fruit juices sold around the country found elevated levels of heavy metals, including cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic, in roughly half the brands sampled.
The juices, which ranged from apple, grape, and pear to fruit blends, are found in major retailers nationwide and include a wide range of store and commercial brands.
Seven juices presented a potential risk to people who consumed just a half-cup, or four ounces, per day: Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice, Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Organic 100% Concord Grape Juice, R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord Grape Juice, Welch’s 100% Concord Grape Juice, Welch’s 100% White Grape Juice, Walmart’s Great Value 100% Cranberry Grape Juice, and Welch’s 100% Juice with Antioxidant Superberry.
Heavy metals are dangerous to both children and adults, but more so to children because they’re still developing. Children are big consumers of fruit juices, with one Consumer Reports survey finding that 74% of kids drink juice once or more per day.
Given the severity of the exposure, heavy metals can cause a number of issues in children including lower IQ, type 2 diabetes, attention deficit disorder and cancer. Experts note that the risk from any one source, including fruit juices, is low, but as people are exposed to small doses from many sources, including baby food and rice cereal, the risk grows.
Each of the 45 products had measurable levels of at least one heavy metal. In addition to the seven that pose a risk to children at four ounces per day, another nine pose risks to kids who drink a cup, or eight ounces, a day. Ten of those 16 juices also pose a risk to adults.
Grape juices and juice blends had the highest average levels of heavy metals. And it didn’t make a difference if a brand was organic or not.
Most of the companies, in statements to Consumer Reports, said they did their own testing of juices and were within government regulations.