FDA sets new limit on arsenic in apple juice


After more than a year of public pressure from consumer groups, the government is setting a new limit on the level of arsenic allowed in apple juice.

Studies have shown the juice contains low levels of arsenic, a cancer-causing agent found in everything from water to soil to pesticides. For years, the FDA has insisted those levels were safe.

Now, the agency is lowering the acceptable amount of arsenic to the same level currently permitted in drinking water.

"What they look for is industry will set this as their standard. They'll do their own testing, and the FDA will come on behind that to make sure they're following up," said ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser.

Under the new regulation, apple juice containing more than 10 parts per billion could be removed from stores, and companies could face legal action. The FDA says the vast majority of juices on the market are already below that threshold.

The FDA's new number is based on lifetime exposure to arsenic and the potential for long-term cancer risk. The agency will take comments on the draft regulation for 60 days before making it binding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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