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Posted on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 12:12 p.m.

The "organic" Arsenic my apple juice dangerous?

By Eva Johnson


Apple juice is yummy, but is it dangerous?

photo by flickr user jamieca

Who needs coffee when you can get jolted awake by apple juice news?

While driving out for breakfast this morning, I heard that Dr. Oz has stirred up some new apple juice claims: Apple juice may have "troubling" levels of arsenic. The FDA believes that this is "fear-mongering" and has released this statement: "There is no evidence of any public health risk from drinking these juices. And FDA has been testing them for years."

I heard Dr. Oz on the radio as he drank some apple juice and basically told everyone to calm down (calm down?) . His point is that he believes that there should be a standard level of total amounts of arsenic (organic or inorganic) that the FDA should regulate. The FDA doesn't think organic arsenic is a concern.

I plan to go apple picking soon (at my favorite local orchard, Wasem's Fruit Farm), and I also plan to overindulge on cider and doughnuts. The good news? Apple cider doesn't have high levels of organic or inorganic Arsenic. It is completely safe.

Apple juice is of the most concern to Dr. Oz, especially since the U.S. imports a lot of apple juice. I admit, I don't really understand how any kind of arsenic would be safe, organic or inorganic, since it is the same chemical compound, right? I need a chemist to explain to me the chemical differences between these two types.

I just want to know: Why do we assume that if it is natural and/or organic, it is safe?

For now, I think I will just continue to drink juice in moderation, since I don't like the high levels of sugar in juice anyway (and the high price tag). In fact, since my kids were babies, I have always severely diluted their juice because I don't think juice is all that healthy. I would rather give them a peice of fruit, since fruit contains all of that fiber and fills them up.

Will this new apple juice debate change your juice habit? What do you think about organic Arsenic levels?

Eva Johnson is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer, who is looking forward to drinking squished apples and doughnuts soon. She lives in chaos with her husband and two boys. To see her complete blog about how to stay sane and in shape in the real world, visit


Sarah Rigg

Mon, Sep 19, 2011 : 2:30 p.m.

There are lots of things that are "poison" in high concentration but perfectly harmless - or even medically therapeutic - in lower doses. For instance, several of the vitamins we need for good health are totally essential in small amounts but will make us very sick or even kill us in high concentrations.


Sat, Sep 17, 2011 : 4:48 p.m.

Arsenic belongs to a family of elements such as Nitorgen, Phosphorus, Antimony, and Bismuth. Compounds of antimony and bismuth were used as drugs in the past and have been replaced by safer chemical compounds. Arsenic is a silvery-white, brittle substance and its poisonous nature is known for centuries. It is used in making insecticides, fungicides, and rodenticides. For example, Arsenic trioxide is a white powder and has no taste. Arsenic was used to poison people and to kill them slowly over a period of time. It could be easily added to food and beverage and its presence would not be known. It accumulates in various body tissues including bones, hair, and nails. Death due to Arsenic Poisoning could be established easily during medico-legal investigation. I do not view or listen to Dr. Oz. People use outrageous statements to grab public attention. It is just a cheap trick. The water that we drink in City of Ann Arbor may have small amounts of Arsenic. The levels are too low and the City is not required to test its water for its Arsenic content. However, I have not seen or heard about any person dying because of Arsenic Poisoning unless the death is intentional poisoning or a homicide. Apple juices are of two kinds; 1. the juice is made from concentrate and filtered water is added to it, and 2. the juice is from pressed apples with no sugar or water added. The first variety often includes added sugar and other added juices, vitamins, and chemical substances either to preserve the product or its fresh taste. Eating apples is a good habit. Drinking juice is not a bad habit. The second kind with no added water or sugar is better. If water is used in making Apple juice, a trace amount of natural Arsenic compounds could be present and would not cause poisoning. Drinking fresh Cider is a healthy and very enjoyable tradition. I will not refuse the doughnut.

Morris Thorpe

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 : 5:53 p.m.

A lot to think about here. On the one hand, the threat appears to be untrue. But on the other, Dr. Phil is usually on target. Am I willing to bet my life on it? Probably not! Call me overly cautious but, after drinking apple juice, I usually smoke a cigarette (the smoke suffocates the bacteria in your stomach.)