Posted on May 16, 2023, 2 p.m.
According to a study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, you may be getting more than you bargained for in some common beverages such as mixed fruit juices, plant-based kinds of milk, and soft drinks, alarmingly the findings revealed levels of toxic metals exceeding federal drinking water standards.
For this study, 60 beverages were tested which included those commonly bought in grocery stores such as single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milks, sodas, and teas. The beverages were measured for 25 different toxic metals and trace elements. According to the researchers from Tulane University 5 of the 60 beverages contained levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking standards, 2 mixed juices had levels of arsenic above standards, and a cranberry juice, a mixed carrot, a fruit juice, and an oat milk had levels of cadmium exceeding standards.
Mixed fruit juices and plant-based milks were found to contain elevated concentrations of toxic metals more often than other drinks, according to the findings. Overall 7 of the 25 elements exceeded drinking water standards in some of the drinks, such as boron, cadmium, arsenic, selenium, nickel, strontium, and manganese. Lead was detected in over 93% of the 60 beverage samples ranging from below 1 part per billion at low levels to 6.3 micrograms/kg at the highest level which was found within a lime sports drink.
"It was surprising that there aren't a lot of studies out there concerning toxic and essential elements in soft drinks in the United States," said Tewodros Godebo, who is the lead author and assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. "This creates awareness that there needs to be more study."
"People should avoid giving infants and young children mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milks at high volume," Godebo said. "Arsenic, lead, and cadmium are known carcinogens and well established to cause internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children especially during early brain development."
It is believed that most of these elements found within the tested beverages came from contaminated soil. "These metals are naturally occurring so it's hard to get rid of completely," Godebo said.
"I don't think there needs to be fear," said Hannah Stoner who is a Tulane University student who participated in the study. "In toxicity, it's the dosage that often makes the difference so everything in moderation. But this creates awareness that there needs to be more study."
The next step is to conduct a risk assessment based on their findings to use the data for examining the impacts of consuming toxic metals in children and adults. "We are curious to keep exploring what's in our drinks and foods commercially sold to the consumers," Godebo said.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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