Arsenic Levels Elevated in U.S. Wines

Denise Wilson, PhD, a professor at the University of Washington evaluated 65 red wines from California, New York, Washington and Oregon and found they all contained the heavy metal poison arsenic at levels of 10 parts per billion or greater. Lead was found in 58% of the wines. This would coincide with two studies published in the Journal of Environmental Health studies that showed that many U. S. Wines and beverages contained more than the limit of 10 parts per billion.

Dr. Wilson went on to say that individuals who consumed 1-2 glasses of wine per day using the same winery for their beverage should be aware of the arsenic levels of the water that supplies that winery. She counseled individuals to be aware of their total diet and its potential heavy metal content and try to limit products known to be high in arsenic and heavy metals. Dr. Wilson pointed out that the cumulative effect of these metals is very difficult to implicate as the cause of an illness but it undoubtedly has an effect. Scientists are far better at implicating heavy metals as the cause of illness in acute toxic exposure rather than a cumulative dosage.

The online periodical “Deadstate” in its March 21, 2015 issue at published a complete list of “wine brands that have allegedly been poisoning you with arsenic.” This is a list of inexpensive California wines cited in a class action suit initiated by the law firm of Kabatec Brown Kellner. They stated, “These wineries have long known about the serious health risks their products pose to customers. Instead of reducing the exposure to acceptable levels, the defendants recklessly engage in a pattern and practice of selling arsenic tainted wine to California consumers.”

There has been little research and publication in peer review journals of the presence of or health effects of heavy metals in our food and beverages. The degree of oversight of these products has been limited due to funding and lobbying of the industries. It’s probably time for a bit closer look at these allegations especially where they pertain to women of child bearing age and children. Arsenic has been detected in apple and grape juices, milk, bottled water, infant formula and cereal bars. Consumers deserve a closer look at these issues and transparency in the findings.