U.S – A recent study led by Tulane University has shed light on the presence of toxic metals in commonly consumed beverages, raising concerns as some levels exceeded federal drinking water standards. 


The study aimed to address knowledge gaps surrounding the contents of beverages in the United States, as limited peer-reviewed research has been conducted in this area.

The comprehensive analysis examined a total of 60 beverages, uncovering that five of them contained levels of toxic metals surpassing federal drinking water standards.

Notably, two mixed juices were found to have levels of arsenic exceeding the 10 micrograms per liter (μg/L) standard. Furthermore, cranberry juice, a mixed carrot and fruit juice, and oat milk exhibited levels of cadmium surpassing the 3 parts per billion (ppb) standard.

The sampled beverages encompassed a range of commonly found products in U.S. grocery stores, including single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milk, sodas, and teas.

Researchers measured 25 different toxic metals and trace elements in the samples. Notably, mixed-fruit juices and plant-based milk, such as oat and almond variants, tended to contain higher concentrations of toxic metals compared to other beverages.

Overall, the study identified seven elements—nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic, and selenium—that were present in some drinks at levels exceeding drinking water thresholds.

While lead was detected in more than 93 percent of the samples, the majority exhibited minimal levels below 1 ppb.

The highest level of lead, measuring 6.3 μg/kilogram (kg), was found in a lime sports drink, still remaining below the drinking water standards set by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Considering that soft drinks are typically consumed in smaller quantities compared to water, the potential health risks for adults are believed to be relatively low.

However, the study’s authors caution parents to exercise caution when choosing beverages for their children.

They advise against providing infants and young children with high volumes of mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milk, as toxic metals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium—known carcinogens—can lead to internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children, despite their natural presence in the environment.

The researchers’ next course of action involves conducting a risk assessment based on the collected data. This assessment aims to evaluate the potential impacts of consuming toxic metals in both children and adults, further informing the understanding of the associated health risks.

The study emphasizes the importance of continued monitoring and regulation of beverage contents to ensure consumer safety.

As the study focused on U.S. beverages, further research is needed to explore the presence of toxic metals in beverages from other regions.

Consumers are encouraged to maintain a balanced and varied diet, including a diverse range of beverages, while also being mindful of potentially toxic metal content.

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