Some juices and soft drinks 'contain elevated levels of toxic metals'

·1-min read

When selecting a drink, taste and price are usually at the forefront of our minds.

But as with anything, balance is key when it comes to consuming fruit juices and soft drinks, as scientists from Tulane University have reported that some commonly consumed beverages contained "elevated" levels of toxic metals.

Following a study of 60 products, the team reported that five contained levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking water standards, while two mixed juices had levels of arsenic above the 10 microgram/litre standard.

A cranberry juice, a mixed carrot and fruit juice and an oat milk each had levels of cadmium exceeding the three parts per billion standard.

"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 lead author Tewodros Godebo. "This creates awareness that there needs to be more study."

As soft drinks are often consumed in smaller quantities than water, the researchers noted that the health risks for adults are low. However, parents should be cautious about the drinks they offer their children.

"People should avoid giving infants and young children mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milks at high volume. 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," he stated, noting that the elements found in beverages presumably come from contaminated soil. "These metals are naturally occurring so it's hard to get rid of completely."

Full study results have been published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.