Parents in the United States have been advised to avoid giving infants and young children mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milks at high volume. The warning has come after elevated levels of toxic metals were found in some commonly consumed beverages including mixed-fruit juices and plant-based milks (such as oat and almond).
In a new study, researchers at Tulane University tested 60 commonly available American beverages, out of which five soft drinks were found containing levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking water standards. Mixed-fruit juices and plant-based milks were most likely to contain elevated concentrations of toxic metals than other drinks, according to the study published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
Toxic metals that may be present in soft drinks
The researchers tested the sampled beverages (including single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milks, sodas, and teas) for the presence of 25 different toxic metals and trace elements.
They found two mixed juices containing levels of arsenic above the 10 microgram/liter standard. Also, they found presence of cadmium with levels exceeding the 3 parts/ billion standard in a cranberry juice, a mixed carrot and fruit juice and an oat milk each.
In some of the drinks, as many as seven elements exceeded drinking water standards, including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic, and selenium.
Lead was detected in most of the sampled beverages (over 93 per cent), but in very low levels, below 1 part per billion, in most samples. A lime sports drink
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The highest level of lead was found in a lime sports drink (6.3 micrograms/kg), which is below both EPA and WHO standards for drinking water.
Soft drinks can be dangerous for children
Tewodros Godebo, lead author and assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has asked parents to be cautious about what drinks they offer their children.
The expert has warned parents against giving infants and young children mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milks in high dosage.
Godebo noted that some soft drinks commonly found in grocery stores may contain high levels of toxic metals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium, which are known carcinogens. These metals are also known to cause internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children, especially during early brain development.
The health risks associated with consumption of soft drinks are most likely low for adults, he stated.
How toxic metals get into these soft drinks?
According to Godebo, most of these toxic elements found in beverages presumably come from contaminated soil. Because these metals are naturally occurring, it's difficult to get rid of them completely, he said.
While the researchers, there's no need to be worried about the toxicity of these soft drinks, they asked people to be cautious about the dosage and consume in moderation.