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.”