Arsenic and lead are likely to be in your child's fruit juice, study finds

Arsenic and lead are likely to be in your child's fruit juice, study finds

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Over time, heavy metals can build up in a child's body and cause harm. High levels have been linked to lower IQ, behavioral problems, diabetes, and cancer.

Consumer Reports recently published data on which fruit juices they found to pose the highest risks and which products are better alternatives. Scroll to the bottom of their report to see how all the tested fruit juices measured up.

Researchers evaluated 45 popular fruit drinks and found that nearly half of them contained elevated levels of inorganic arsenic, lead, or cadmium. Some had lead levels that exceeded the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) standard for bottled water. Apple, grape, pear, and fruit blend juices were tested.

Consumer Reports calculated that seven of the juices could harm kids who drink half a cup or more per day; nine of them posed risks to children who had more than one cup per day.

You may be surprised to hear that organic juices didn't have lower heavy metal levels than nonorganic juices. Since these substances are present in soil, organic food can contain just as much of them as nonorganic products.

Here's a list of the juices that the researchers found to be better alternatives:

  • 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  • Apple & Eve 100% Juice, Apple Juice
  • Big Win (Rite Aid) 100% Juice, Apple Juice
  • Clover Valley (Dollar General) 100% Apple Juice
  • Market Pantry (Target) 100% Juice, Apple
  • Gerber Apple 100% Juice
  • Mott's 100% Juice, Apple Original
  • Mott's for Tots Apple
  • Nature's Own 100% Apple Juice
  • Old Orchard 100% Juice, Apple
  • Simply Balanced (Target) Organic Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  • Tree Top 100% Apple Juice
  • Goya Pear Nectar
  • Looza Pear Juice Drink
  • Ocean Spray Cran-Apple
  • Ocean Spray Cran-Grape
  • Capri Sun 100% Juice, Apple
  • Juicy Juice 100% Juice, Apple
  • Juicy Juice Organics 100% Juice, Apple
  • Good2Grow 100% Juice, Apple
  • Honest Kids Organic Juice Drink, Goodness Grapeness
  • Good2Grow 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  • Capri Sun 100% Juice, Fruit Punch
  • Minute Maid 100% Juice, Apple White Grape

Should juice be a part of my child's diet?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 100 percent fruit juice can be a healthy part of a well-balanced diet for children over 12 months, but servings should be limited to:

  • No juice for children younger than 12 months
  • No more than 4 ounces (1/2 cup) per day for toddlers ages 1 to 3
  • No more than 6 ounces per day for children ages 4 to 6
  • No more than 8 ounces (1 cup) per day for kids ages 7 to 18

According to the FDA, products labeled as "fruit juice" must be 100 percent fruit juice. Anything less than 100 percent must be labeled as a fruit drink, beverage, or cocktail.

Limiting how much juice a child drinks is the best way to reduce heavy metal exposure. Here are some healthier drinks.

You may also want to limit foods that tend to be higher in heavy metals, such as sweet potatoes, rice, rice cereal, and chocolate. If you’re worried about any foods that your child has eaten, bring it up with your pediatrician.

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