The Midweek Sun

‘Dangerous levels’ of toxic metals lurking in your favorite beverages-study warns


The sampled beverages, which included those commonly found in grocery stores even here in Botswana including single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milk, sodas,and teas were measured for 25 different toxic metals and trace elements.

“Mixed-fruit juices and plantbased milk (such as oat and almond) contained elevated concentrat­ions of toxic metals more often than other drinks,” says the study.

Seven of the 25 elements exceeded drinking water standards in some of the drinks, including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic and selenium. While lead was detected in more than 93 per cent of the 60 samples, most contained very low levels below one part per billion.

The highest level (6.3 micrograms/ kg) was found in a lime sports drink, though that’s below World Health Organizati­on standards for drinking water.

“It was surprising that there aren’t a lot of studies out there concerning toxic and essential elements in soft drinks. This will create awareness that there needs to be more study.” Dr Tewodros Godebo, lead author and assistant professor of environmen­tal health sciences at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine said in a press release.

He said it was important to conduct the study since there are few peer-reviewed studies examining the contents of beverages.

The researcher warned that parents should be cautious about what drinks they offer their children since the consequenc­es are not so huge in adults, they consume in smaller quantities than water

“People should avoid giving infants and young children mixedfruit juices or plant-based milk at high volume,” Godebo said. “Arsenic, lead, and cadmium are known carcinogen­s and well establishe­d to cause internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children, especially during early brain developmen­t.”

He said the elements found in beverages presumably come from contaminat­ed soil since they are naturally occurring so it’s hard to get rid of completely.

There is a need to conduct a risk assessment based on the data collected to see the impacts of consuming toxic metals in children and adults.

“We are curious to keep exploring what’s in our drinks and foods commercial­ly sold to the consumers,” he said.

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