Q: Why worry about arsenic in apple juice at all?
A: The US Geological Survey says China is the world’s largest producer of arsenic. We outlawed arsenic in pesticides in the US, but we don’t know what happens in other countries’ apple orchards. Those apples can be sprayed with pesticides that contain inorganic arsenic. Our show found that one box of American apple juice can come from apple concentrate from China and six other countries. That’s how arsenic can get into the US juice supply. We have the right to know how safe that concentrate is.
Q: The FDA criticizes The Dr. Oz Show’s lab results because they reveal total arsenic, not inorganic arsenic vs organic arsenic.
A: One of the juice companies tested the same juice lots we did and sent us their lab results’ breakdown of organic vs inorganic. The majority of those samples’ total arsenic was the most harmful kind: Inorganic. (This lab report shows As (III) and As (V) – those are inorganic forms of arsenic.) The FDA has this data.
The University of Arizona also studied this in 2009. They did what The Dr. Oz Show did. They bought items from a supermarket and sent it to a lab to look for arsenic. They found apple juice samples that contained a high level of inorganic arsenic – above the 10 ppb the EPA sets for total arsenic in drinking water.
This isn’t the first time the FDA is hearing this.
The FDA reports in total arsenic also. Check their Total Diet Study.
Q: The FDA says organic arsenic in apple juice is essentially harmless. Is it?
A: Organic arsenic CAN be harmful. There are toxic forms of organic arsenic. The FDA also knows that our understanding of organic arsenic is evolving. We are learning more about how organic arsenic is converted into the more toxic inorganic arsenic.
The FDA announced this summer that a company that makes chicken feed with ORGANIC arsenic was suspending sales because INORGANIC arsenic was turning up in the chicken.
Now, we’re not chickens. But scientists say it's the wake-up call to do more studies on how the human body processes organic arsenic.
The Dr. Oz Show has extended new invitations to the FDA, the juice companies and the Juice Products Association to appear on the show. They all declined the first time. We hope to have them join us in a follow-up broadcast.