Pediatricians in Northwest Indiana Address Parental Concerns About Arsenic Found in Fruit Juice

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New tests conducted by Consumer Reports show high arsenic levels in many fruit juices; Medical Specialists pediatricians in Northwest Indiana offer advice to parents.

Dr. Clark Kramer

Dr. Clark Kramer and patient

I frequently tell parents to cut out sugary fruit juice drinks but the juice industry and the juice box commercials are very enticing and convincing. Moderation is the key.

According to the upcoming January 2012 edition of Consumer Reports, the organization found that many fruit juices contain high amounts of arsenic. According to their tests, roughly 10 percent of the juice sampled had total arsenic levels that exceed federal drinking-water standards. Clark Kramer, M.D., and other members of the Medical Specialists Department of Pediatrics in Northwest Indiana say this information should reinforce what pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics have been saying for a long time: that fruit juice consumption should be limited.

Specifically, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends milk and water for children over 12 months of age. If serving juice, they recommend only 4-6 ounces per day. Babies less than 12 months should not be given any juice at all. “Unfortunately, large amounts of juice is a mainstay in some children’s diets,” says Dr. Kramer, board certified pediatrician at Medical Specialists. “I frequently tell parents to cut out sugary fruit juice drinks but the juice industry and the juice box commercials are very enticing and convincing. Moderation is the key.”    

There is no federal arsenic threshold for juice or most foods, though the limit for bottled and tap water is 10 parts per billion (ppb). The Consumer Reports study found that roughly 10 percent of the juice samples tested from five different brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking water standards. Additionally, the form of arsenic found in the samples tested was inorganic arsenic, which is not naturally occurring. This form of arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages, liver and prostate. Additionally, a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that arsenic exposure was related to poor scores in language, memory and other brain functions.

Dr. Kramer suggests some ways to reduce a family’s arsenic risk:
1.    Limit children’s juice consumption. Diluting juice with purified water can decrease the number of ounces consumed without cutting back on the amount of fluids your child ingests.
2.    Test the water in your home. If your home is not on a public water system, contact your local health department to find a certified testing lab. If your home levels are high, consider a home-treatment system.
3.    Consider organic options. While organic brands do not eliminate arsenic in juices, it can help decrease the arsenic levels found in food.

To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Medical Specialists, please call (219) 934-0900. Medical Specialists is a healthcare organization comprised of highly trained, compassionate primary care and specialty care physicians and surgeons. Providing the highest quality healthcare to residents of Northwest Indiana since 1978, Medical Specialists brings university level medical care to the community setting.


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Liza Sargent
Medical Specialists
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