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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Watching Dr Oz 12/1/11: Update on Arsenic in Apple Juice, 11 Year Old Food Hoarder, Fast Bone and Skin Care

The Dr. Oz Show
Air date: December 1, 2011
Breaking News: Arsenic in Apple Juice Update

  • Consumer Reports releases findings on arsenic levels in apple juice
  • FDA releases new arsenic investigation data
  • Nestle threatens Dr. Oz with a lawsuit
  • An 11-year-old food hoarder weighs 200 pounds
  • $500 Health Drop: supplements for quick fixes?

Here it is! The follow up show to Dr. Oz's controversial episode on arsenic in apple juice that aired on September 14, 2011. [Read my follow up post from September 15, 2011 with the FDA's response to the issue.]

Consumer Reports magazine began conducting its own study of apple and grape juice looking at both arsenic and lead levels. Their results were recently released. The FDA has also recently stated that it is going to take another look at arsenic levels in apple and determine if a standard should be set.

Find out what Consumer Reports, the Juice Products Association, FDA and Nestle have to say about these recent findings.


And stay up-to-date with


Revisiting his September 2011 episode topic that ruffled many a feather, Dr. Oz brings new information to the discussion on the concerning issue of arsenic levels in apple juice.

To review, arsenic levels in water are not to exceed 10ppb (parts per billion) according to FDA standards. [Bottled water standard is 5ppb.] The FDA has also said that arsenic levels of 23ppb in juice are of concern, yet has not set a standard. Dr. Oz believes that the same standard, 10ppb, should be applied to juice, specifically apple juice.

The FDA previously responded to concerns raised by Dr. Oz in September by saying that the average person consumes less than 4 ounces of juice daily therefore exposure is low. Yet when we look at children, their juice consumption is typically much higher than that average and juice boxes often contain 6 ounces or more.

Since August 2011, Consumer Reports has been conducting their own investigation of arsenic levels in apple juice and their research a step further to look at grape juice and include levels of lead as well. Their investigation included a small sample of 88 different apple and grape juice drinks. Their findings: 10% of juices tested exceeded the FDA's acceptable level of arsenic in water.

[Read the article from the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports published on – their parent company.]

Urvashi Rangan, PhD, director of the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports, says that Consumer Reports believes there are arsenic levels in rice and wine that may be of concern but were not tested. Their study looked at both organic and inorganic forms of arsenic as well as juice drinks from single origin and multiple origin.

Surprisingly, Dr. Oz shared, the FDA just released new data last week from their testing that has been happening since 2008 where 11% of sampled juice had arsenic levels above 10ppb, some samples were above 45ppb and the highest test result was 86ppb.

Dr. Oz said a standard needs to be set for the allowable level of arsenic in apple juice. It can be set and it should be set.

In a September letter to Dr. Oz, the FDA said that the majority of arsenic in apple juice was organic, naturally occurring, and therefore safe. Consumer Reports, however, found that there is a concern with organic forms that have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies. [Those poor animals!] The FDA itself does not distinguish between organic and inorganic forms of arsenic in its own testing.

November 29, 2011 letter to Dr. Oz from the FDA:
...we are seriously considering setting a guidance or other level for arsenic in apple juice.

How Did Arsenic Get in Our Food?

Arsenic is naturally occurring in our environment with levels differing based on geographic location. Pesticides contain arsenic along with lead and heavy metals which end up in the soil. Degradation rates of these heavy metals are extremely long which can bring about lasting negative effects. Industrial manufacturing releases arsenic into the air which falls to the ground. Wood used to build outdoor decks contains arsenic in the preservative which reduces the rate of weathering.

Dr. Oz said that until this summer, arsenic was allowed in chicken feed. The FDA suspended sale of arsenic containing chicken feed this year.

[April 9, 2007: published the article Arsenic in Chicken Feed May Post Health Risks to Humans. Not to mention the health risk to chickens.

June 8, 2011: reports Some Chicken May Contain Arsenic, FDA Says.
Pfizer Inc., which makes the feed ingredient, [Roxarsone] said Wednesday that it will pull it off the market in the United States. Had the company not stopped sales, the FDA could have eventually banned the product since it contains a known carcinogen.

Why did it take over four years for the FDA to take action?]

Dr. Rangan shared that the FDA test process includes multiple sampling to review levels of contaminants in the food supply. If levels are considered high by the FDA, which in most cases is a non-specific, non-standardized level, they will investigate further.

The reality of the apple juice contamination concern is that 35% of children under the age of five are drinking more juice that the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). [The Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatric, American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition, May 5, 2001 and reaffirmed February 1, 2007.]

AAP Juice Consumption Recommendation:
Infants: no juice
Age 1 to 7: 4 – 6 ounces
Age 7 to 18: 8 – 12 ounces, or two servings
Children are encouraged to eat whole fruit for daily intake instead of drinking juice.

A recommended serving for 1 to 7 year old kids may be 4 ounces however juice boxes typically contain 6.5 ounces of juice and most young kids drink more than one box a day, exceeding recommendations.

Dr. Oz says we can better protect our children by limiting their juice intake to only 4 ounces per day.

Amount of Arsenic in Our Bodies

To determine the amount of arsenic in the typical person, Consumer Reports looked to a study that monitored 3,000 people from 2003 to 2008. Eliminating people who ate fish which could skew the results, the study found that people who consumed apple and/or grape juice had a 20% higher level or arsenic in their urine then people who did not consume the juice. Dr. Rangan said the source of the arsenic was confirmed to the juice consumed by the participants.

What are the implications of high levels are arsenic? Dr. Oz explained that high arsenic levels are associated with bladder cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, heart disease, diabetes, learning disabilities, and fatigue syndrome.

In a conference call with the FDA this October, Dr. Oz was told that the FDA did not consider the long-term issues of high exposure when it was determined it's “concern” level of 23ppb. The FDA is re-evaluating the safety of arsenic in juice and taking long-term risks and lifetime exposure into consideration. Dr. Oz asks [rhetorically, you could say], is 23ppb safe or not?

Dr. Rangan explained that Consumer Reports already did the risk assessments for lifetime exposure of arsenic levels. They determined that a reasonable safety level of 3ppb would reduce long-term health deficiencies. Of the samples they tested, 40% are already at or below that level.

On the original September episode, Dr. Oz invited the juice companies to appear. They declined. Today, Gail Charnley, PhD, of the Juice Product Association accepted his invitation. She stated that the opening paragraph of the Consumer Reports article is false by stating there is not an FDA standard. She says the FDA has a precautionary level that the juice industry complies with and takes seriously.

[A standard is a legally enforceable level whereas a precautionary level is a guideline, a recommendation that is not enforceable. Juice companies could then exceed the precautionary level, and as evidenced above they do exceed the level, yet no action has nor can be taken.] Dr. Rangan added that the FDA guideline was created without evaluation of long-term risks, discussed above, and without input from the public.

Dr. Charnley felt the Consumer Reports article was reassuring, overall, because results showed most juices were less than 23ppb arsenic, which is considered safe.

Dr. Oz confronted Dr. Charnley asking why doesn't the juice industry reduce the tolerable level the match water? Dr. Charnely's [politically expedient] reply was that the 23ppb level is safe, per the FDA, and when you compare the amounts of juice consumed against the amount of water consumed that level is comparable to the 10ppb water standard.

Dr. Rangan jumped right in and countered that exposure per pound to arsenic is greater for children. The levels and ppb's discussed are for a 154 person. [The average weight of a five year old is 40 pounds. Big difference.] When a parent buys juice for their family they should not hold the responsibility of knowing if the particular juice box contains a 23ppb level or a spike level of 83ppb. The public doesn't know.

Dr. Oz pushed the question again to Dr. Charnely, thinking as a juice company, why not get ahead of the game and reduce the levels in juice below the 23ppb, get closer to the 10ppb? As was shown in the Consumer Reports and FDA studies, many companies are already at low levels. It's not hard. Why not just do it?

Dr. Charnely answered that if the FDA decides through science that the allowable levels should be changed then the juice industry will comply.

[In plain, non-marketing-ese words, the industry doesn't want to do anything different unless they are legally required even if safety concerns are in question and even if the changes being requested, being demanded, are easy to achieve and in most cases are already being achieved. If juice companies are continuing to look at their bottom-line, and I doubt they have ever stopped, then they should realize this issue is being repeatedly brought to the attention of their target audience - women, mothers, families - that drink juice and that this market segment have already begun to make changes in their buying habits. They may as well make the changes from a business model of adjusting to public demand or stand to lost market shares to companies that are more willing to keep arsenic levels low.]

Is there a difference in arsenic levels between certified organic juice and conventional juice? The Consume Reports study wasn't big enough to determine a difference between organic and non-organic juice. Pesticide and other arsenic sourced contamination persists in the soil and even an organic juice may not offer a difference.

How safe is our tap water when it comes to arsenic levels? Consumer Reports has an interactive map showing where ground water levels are higher in arsenic. [Find the map in the same January 2012 article.] Check with local water organizations as another resource. To remove arsenic, and other heavy metals from tap water, look for a home filtration system that specifically filters arsenic.] Visit for more information on how to read a report from a local water agency.

Dr. Oz's Bottom Line: Should you Drink Apple Juice?

Dr. Oz encourages his viewers that until there is a federal standard that they should follow the AAP recommended amounts. Infants receive no juice, children under 7 drink no more than 4 – 6 ounces a day and children 7 and above drink no more than 8 – 12 ounces.

Dr. Oz recommends to drink a diversity of juices. Switch apple juice for orange juice. He also recommends to dilute fruit juice with water.

A lawyer for Juicy Juice brand juice, owned by Nestle, sent Dr. Oz a letter threatening a lawsuit for what they call inaccurate information in his September episode. Dr. Oz, essentially, stands behind his original information saying that it is true that trace amount of arsenic appeared in the juice, there is differing beliefs on how to test for arsenic, the limit of arsenic in water set by the FDA is 10ppb [he didn't even use the lower bottled water standard of 5ppb] and that there is a concern level of 23ppb.

[Catch up on the media attention paid this week to the arsenic in apple juice issue:

11 Year Old Food Hoarder

She started hoarding food at age 2, now at age 11 she weighs 200 lbs. Tyche's mom, Becky, knew there was something off with her daughter early on when she would sneak butter and leftovers. Becky hates cleaning her daughters room, fearful of what food she'll find from raw bacon under the pillow to a can of raviolis under the bed, candy bar wrappers and ice cream boxes.

Each year she gains more weight and hoards more food. A pad lock has been placed on the refrigerator to help control her eating. Tyche is a compulsive eater and takes food out of the trash, will eat raw hot dogs. Mom, Becky, is a nurse but can't help her daughter, doesn't know what to do or where to go for help.

Becky doesn't take pics of her anymore because she doesn't want her little girl to remember this time. She fears Tyche will die from over eating. She is embarrassed for her daughter whose every waking moment she's eating or trying to get food.

Becky admitted that she hasn't taken Tyche to a pediatrician in 3 years because they will only label her as morbidly obese and she doesn't want her daughter to hear that.

Dr. Oz says he cannot let Becky get away with not taking her daughter to a doctor. Her health, her life depends on getting help.

Tyche's father is a stay at home dad and chose to stay at home today instead of face the possibility of responsibility for his daughter's health. He also cares for his ailing father which was the priority. It's concerning that he is not willing to be present.

Kimberli McCallum, MD, PhD, of McCallum Place eating disorder clinic, is a spcialist on children's eating disorders, and says that food hoarding is associated with an eating disorder. People with this disorder feel secure when they eat especially when they come from a background of insecurity or a lack of structure in the home.

Molly Carmle, LCSW, works with parents of obese kids, says that an obese 11 year old is a part of a diseased family. Without treating the entire family, the situation will get worse.

With her mother's permission, Tyche was brought onto the set. She told Dr. Oz that she feels sad about her weight and doesn't like the way she looks. She says she hide the food because she's afraid that her mom will yell at her.

Tyche's Numbers: at age 11 her weight should be around 95 pounds and at age 18 a normal weight should be around 135 pounds. At the rate Tyche is going, at age 18 her weight will be 420 pounds. Tyche said she doesn't want to be like that. Dr. Oz assured her that it doesn't have to happen. With help she can change that potential outcome for the average.

Dr. Oz has worked with Mr. McCallum to enroll Tyche in the Greenlight Family Program of McCallum Place, an outpatient intensive program for weight loss. The stop at the program is to stop the weight gain and target the binge eating. They need to override the impulses that bring Tyche to the food and work with an intensive team bring about individual and family structure to meals and activities.

Both Tyche's parents are overweight. Dr. Carmle says that the foundation and the government of the home is broken. Everyone in the family has to be committed to getting healthy together. If the parents want a doughnut, they have manage without it for the sake of their daughter.

Dr. Oz told Becky that she brought Tyche into this world she's going to keep her going through this. She's too beautiful and too lovely.

$500 Health Drop

It's Game Show Time!
Supplements to improve your health in a hurry.

Which supplement helps calcium strength your bones the fastest? Vitamin D3, Potassium, or Vitamin E?
Vitamin D3 is correct. Helps your body absorb calcium fastest way to build bone strength and you get it from the sun.

Which topical supplement repairs dry and irritated skin quickly? Vitamin C, Vitamin B3, or Vitamin K?
Vitamin B3 is correct.

[Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacin. Dr. Oz didn't provided on topical Vitamin B3. I've never seen a topical B3 cream in the world of granola retail. For dry and/or irritated skin, I would often recommend to customers to use jojoba oil which is closest to the skin's natural oils. Nature's Gate has a nice lotion called Skin Therapy labeled for dry, cracked skin. ShiKai has a great line of lotions with borage oil, an essential fatty acid which is readily absorbed topically.

I Googled “topical vitamin B3” and came upon information on Vitamin B3 from the University of Maryland Medical Center, last review of the article was August, 2011. They say:
Researchers are studying topical forms of niacin as treatments for rosacea, aging, and prevention of skin cancer, although it's too early to know whether it is effective.

Other sites say that topical Vitamin B3 can be used to support acne or used as a general moisturizing cream. I think the time and effort spent to find a reliable source of Vitamin B3 cream would be better spent in going to a store that sells a nice array of lotions and oils and ask the staff for a recommendation.]

Place your vote for this week's quiz
and return on Saturday for the answer.

Thank you for making Watching Dr Oz a success!

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