So some of you may have heard of this fellow by the name of Dr. Mehmet Oz reporting by way of an “extensive national study” that we should all be very wary of apple juice because some may contain harmful levels of the metal Arsenic.
Let me first say that I do not follow or watch Dr. Oz. I think his claim to fame is that he is a surgeon and was BFF’s with Oprah, right? Whatever it is, I’m sure he has lots of great opinions and great information. But this one? Not so much.
First I will give the information he provides via his website and show, then I will tell you what I have found.
- Dr. Oz’s study was national and extensive.
Really? Three US cities with dozens of samples hardly sounds comprehensive to me. How can three cities possibly cover all the variables for a study like this? One of the rules of research is to have the variable you’re testing and control all the others. That seems hard to do for this study, then he calls it “extensive” and “national”. I disagree.
- Dr. Oz tested for total arsenic.
In fact, there is a huge difference between organic and inorganic arsenic. Organic is found naturally in foods and living things we consume, inorganic is from the inanimate things around us, like the ground. I’ll save you the technicalities, but once arsenic is ingested, it breaks down into different forms in the liver. According to the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s ToxGuide for arsenic – “In most species, including humans, ingested organic arsenical compounds such as MMA and DMA [substances Arsenic breaks down into in our bodies], undergo limited metabolism, do not readily enter the cell, and are primarily excreted unchanged in the urine.” What does that mean? Very little enters your cells and your body mainly rids itself of it in your pee. Additionally, it is noted that inorganic arsenic is promptly excreted in your pee as well, and some in your feces. (ew.)
- Dr. Oz cites the levels safe for drinking water and compares it to apple juice.
I’m not convinced you can make a direct correlation here. While inorganic arsenic is common in our soils and water supply due to it being in our bed rock, and organic arsenic can be used as a pesticide, I’m not seeing how this is a direct correlation to apple juice. I mean we don’t get apple juice from the ground, so why are you comparing it to that? If you say, well, apples grow on trees and those are in the ground and so… that still doesn’t work. Arsenic is classified as a metal, it’s in the rock portion of our terra firma. It gets into our water when we draw on the deep ground water from that layer where it has leached into that water supply. I’m just not convinced that you can make a direct correlation.
- The claim is that the apple juice concentrate used in these juices is a blend of juice from up to seven countries and they may or may not regulate the use of arsenic in pesticides and/or water. Out of the 36 samples taken, 10 came back with higher levels than what is allowed in water.
This could be very true. There could be increased levels of arsenic in those juices because of this reason. There are also various foods that we import from the east that are high in arsenic. Where is the alert over these things? Like rice. If I didn’t have rice to feed my kids, I would be up a creek, and not in a good way. And really, is a third of these samples enough to get the whole country up and arms? A third of 36? Really? If you told me it was a third of 36 million… then I may think twice, maybe. Also, personally, we don’t normally consume any of these brands regularly, and I know that is just my family. Lots of others do. I also dilute the juice I give to my kids and I bet you do, too. I guess my point is that, in my opinion, the study is far from comprehensive, and to make a blanket “shocking” report like that is a little, irresponsible.
- Just as a matter of Myth Busting, arsenic is not in apple seeds. Cyanide is. But in order for the cyanide in said apple seeds to have any effect, you would have to have a bushel full, ground, and ingested all at once. Um, that’s not going to happen. Additionally, in order for apple juice to contain arsenic, it would have to come from the source apples by way of the water, soil and/or pesticides used to grow them.
Also, the CDC says, in regards specifically to Children’s Health, “Children who are exposed to high levels of arsenic exhibit symptoms similar to those seen in adults, including cardiovascular, dermal, and neurological effects, and vomiting following ingestion. There is some evidence that metabolism of inorganic arsenic in children is less efficient than in adults.” Meaning, if a child is at danger from this, you will notice, and they may not break it down as quickly as an adult.
I know this is a lot, but I wanted to try and put some people’s minds to rest. We do not need to ban apple juice. Perhaps continuing to be diligent label readers and really pay attention to what we are buying, as with any food or beverage, is all we need to do.
For eons, people have drank and given their children apple juice. I am certainly not going to jump on this bandwagon.