Arsenic and Wine: Should You Be Worried?

I was at a wine tasting in Florida recently and the person conducting the tasting claimed that if you drink wines under $10/bottle, you should be aware that you’re drinking arsenic. ‘Google arsenic and wine’ he claimed and you’ll get the entire story.

So I googled and I did find out that a group of people in California did indeed file a suit against certain wineries for producing wines with excessive amounts of arsenic. I read every google listing and came away with the conclusion that there are people with hidden agendas involved. For instance some of the people bringing the suit are involved with the testing lab that did the results.

Also all of the wineries named in the suit produce wines under $10; however there’s no proof that wines DSC_0765 (532x800)over $10 don’t contain arsenic either. And the US does not have any safe levels for  arsenic in wine, only arsenic in water. And the arsenic levels tested were 5 times higher than the allowed amount in water.

Canada and Europe do have limits on the amount of arsenic in wine which are both well below the amounts found in the tested wines. My initial conclusion is that it’s much ado about nothing but that’s subject to more investigative reporting. Meanwhile I can relate to the following comment by Tara Haelle for Forbes Magazine:

‘If you’re an alcoholic whose drink of choice is wine, you may (or may not) have reason to worry, but you also have far greater health concerns to address. If you have an occasional glass of wine, even one of the brands with the “very high levels,” you’re not taking in any more arsenic than you would with the occasional bowl of shellfish, dark meat fish, apple or pear juice or even brussels sprouts, for that matter. If you drink wine almost daily, as I do, you might like to see some of these companies taking steps to identify the source of the arsenic and reducing it, but unless you’re seeing brownish green spots on your hands, you are probably more likely to die from something else than arsenic poisoning or arsenic-caused cancer.’

Author Vin Marottoli

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