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Arsenic in wine no health hazard: study

Arsenic concentrations in California wines consumed by the vast majority of Americans do not pose a public health hazard, an independent Cardno ChemRisk study has found.

The health sciences firm’s research discovered arsenic in wine only contributed to a fraction (8.3 percent or less) of a typical wine consumer’s total arsenic exposure received through diet.

Cardno ChemRisk undertook the study after numerous media reports claimed arsenic in a number of California wines were above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for drinking water.

The research examined 101 wines from the state, including those mentioned in the media stories as “high arsenic” wines, as well as other randomly selected wines produced or bottled in California.

While the United States does not have a regulatory limit for arsenic content in wine, the study noted that no wine tested had arsenic concentrations above the Canadian and International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) limits.

An analysis by wine type found blush wines contained the highest concentrations of arsenic, followed by white wine and then red wine.

It also highlighted that lower-priced wine contained higher arsenic concentrations than those that come with a higher price tag.

The research considered the wine’s total arsenic concentration, the consumer’s age, body weight and frequency of consumption, and overall dietary arsenic consumption in the general population.

“As the research shows, the presence of arsenic in wine does not represent a health risk for consumers,” said co-author and Cardno ChemRisk Health Scientist Dr. Andrew Monnot.

“We believe our analysis sheds light on a timely topic much discussed by both the scientific and lay press. Our work not only provides insight into issues specifically concerning arsenic in wine, but also illustrates how to best conduct risk assessments on metals in foods and beverages more generally.”

The research titled Analysis of Total Arsenic Content in California Wines and Comparison to Various Health Risk Criteria will be published in the April 2016 issue of the American Journal of Viticulture and Enology (AJEV).

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