The fruit juice you give your kids may have unsafe levels of lead and arsenic, Consumer Reports says

Posted at 1:32 PM, Feb 03, 2019

Recently, fruit juice has been a topic of speculation, particularly concerning sugar content.

But now, there's unexpected ingredient that's causing more alarm.

Consumer Reports tested 45 popular fruit juices and found half had high levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead. This is concerning as some of these juices are marketed toward children who, as studies show, are regularly consuming juice.

In fact, a CR survey of 30,002 parents found that more than 80 percent of parents of children ages 3 and younger give their kids juice. CR also found that 74 percent of their kids drank juice once a day, or more.

“Exposure to these metals early on can affect their whole life trajectory,” says Dr. Jennifer Lowry , who was involved in the study and is also a health director at Children's Mercy in Kansas. “There is so much development happening in their first years of life.”

Lowry, who is also a chairperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said children who are constantly exposed to metal can develop risks for "lowered IQ, behavioral problems (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), T ype 2 diabetes and cancer, among other health issues."

What's more, these juices pose risks even small doses.

“Five of the juices we tested pose a risk to adults at four or more ounces per day, and five others pose a risk at eight or more ounces,” said James Dickerson, CR’s chief scientific officer.

While metals are dangerous to children, that doesn't mean they don't harm adults.

In adults, repeated exposure to heavy metals may increase the risk of certain cancers, and could eventually cause cognitive and reproductive problems.

How did the metals get in the juice?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug administration , metals are found in the environment and taken up by plants as they mature. Particularly, in air, water and soil. However, the FDA does take steps to minimize risks from the metals people consume, particularly for children, who are more susceptible to negative neurological and developmental effects.

In addition, the FDA has set limits for how much metal is allowable in drinks, measured as parts per billion, or ppb. The FDA limit is higher than what Consumer Reports considers safe.

For example: "As for lead, the FDA has set a guideline for juice — 50 ppb — but CR thinks it should be much lower," the report says.

What juices should I limit or avoid altogether?


Potential risk at 1 cup (8 OZ) + a day:

  • Gerber White Grape Juice
  • Gold Emblem (CVS) 100% Apple Juice
  • Gold Emblem (CVS) 100% Grape Juice
  • Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, AppleRisk to children
  • Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Cranberry Grape
  • Juicy Juice 100% Juice, White Grape
  • R.W. Knudsen Organic Pear 100% Juice
  • Trader Joe's Organic Apple Juice
  • Trader Joe's Organic Apple Grape Juice
  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Concord Grape
  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Grape Cranberry

Potential risk at 1/2 Cup (4 OZ) + a day:

  • Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Cranberry Grape
  • R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord Grape Juice
  • Trader Joe's Fresh Pressed Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  • Welch's 100% Juice with Antioxidant Superberry
  • Welch's 100% Grape Juice, Concord Grape
  • Welch's 100% Grape Juice, White Grape
  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Concord Grape

Juice Boxes/Pouches- Potential Risk at more than one a day :

  • Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  • Minute Maid 100% Apple Juice
  • Minute Maid 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  • Mott's 100% Juice, Apple White Grape
  • Trader Joe's Joe's Kids Apple Juice
  • So what can you do?

    A full list of alternative juices can be found in the Consumer Reports article.

    What was tested?

    Twenty-four national, store and private-label brands were tested in the report:

  • 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
  • Welch’s
  • Why was the aim of the testing?

    The focus of the testing was on levels of lead, cadmium, inorganic arsenic, mercury and in flavors of apple, fruit blends, grape,and pear. In the overall testing, CR found that metals have decreased in juices since their previous test. However, at least one of the four metals was found in each juice tested.