A University of Washington study has allegedly found that many red
wines produced in California, Washington, New York and Oregon contain
arsenic levels exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA’s) limit for drinking water of 10 parts per billion (ppb). Denise
Wilson, “Arsenic Content in American Wine,” Journal of Environmental
Health, October 2015.

Authored by an electrical engineering professor, the study purportedly
finds that all samples taken from 65 representative wines contained
inorganic arsenic, with an average arsenic level of 23.3 ppb. In addition,
58 percent of the samples contained lead and 5 percent exceeded EPA’s
lead limits for drinking water. A companion study notes that adults who
consume high quantities of rice and infants who consume organic brown
rice syrup could also be ingesting arsenic at levels that exceed maximum
recommended amounts.

The research ultimately raises concerns about dietary exposure to arsenic
from multiple sources, urging wineries to test for lead and arsenic in
irrigation and processing water. As author Denise Wilson explains in
a September 28, 2015, press release, “Unless you are a heavy drinker
consuming wine with really high concentrations of arsenic, of which
there are only a few, there’s little health threat if that’s the only source
of arsenic in your diet. But consumers need to look at their diets as a
whole. If you are eating a lot of contaminated rice, organic brown rice
syrup, seafood, wine, apple juice—all those heavy contributors to arsenic
poisoning—you should be concerned, especially pregnant women, kids
and the elderly.”


Issue 581

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.