A new study has found that some commonly consumed beverages such as fruit juice and artificial soda contain levels of toxic metals including arsenic, cadmium, and lead that exceed federal drinking water standards.
Researchers from Tulane University, Louisiana, measured 25 different toxic metals and trace elements in 60 soft beverages, including single fruit juice, mixed fruit juice, plant-based milk, artificial soda, and tea.
The drinks were purchased in New Orleans and are commercially available in supermarkets across the United States.
Researchers found that five of the 60 beverages tested contained levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking water standards.
Two mixed juices had levels of arsenic above the 10 microgram/liter standard. Meanwhile, 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.
What Are Arsenic and Cadmium?
Arsenic is a naturally occurring tasteless, colorless, and odorless, chemical element that can be found in the environment, including in food and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The element persists in the environment and does not deteriorate.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted a 10 parts per billion (ppb), or 10 microgram/liter standard for arsenic in public drinking water in 2001, replacing the old standard of 50 microgram/liter.
However, long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic can result in skin disorders, an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and several types of cancer, according to the CDC.
Cadmium, meanwhile, is another naturally occurring element used in products such as batteries, pigments, metal coatings, and plastics but also found in plant and animal foods, according to the CDC.