Health officials around the world are looking for contaminants in food and beverages, and studies conducted as far away as Finland, Italy and Chile have found traces of lead, cadmium , mercury and arsenic in products such as bottled water, soft drinks and fruit juice.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is attempting to protect the public from the health risks caused by exposure to heavy metals, arsenic, lead and cadmium in foods and foods. drinks.
High levels of these contaminants – exceeding FDA limits – have been reported in some fruit, wine and beer juices, but researchers did not know how metals were found in finished products.
FDA researchers, however, believe they have found a culprit: diatomaceous earth, a commonly used filtration material.
More importantly, they believe they have also found ways to limit contamination, according to their report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The advocacy publication Consumer reports states that children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of heavy metals.
"Early exposure to these metals can affect their entire life trajectory," says Jennifer Lowry of the American Academy of Pediatrics American Environmental Council in a recent report on fruit juice contamination.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the most commonly used filter aids for the treatment of certain fermented alcoholic beverages. It increases clarity and extends the life of the products.
According to the new report, previous experiments had shown that the use of food grade filter filters for the processing of apple and grape juice could alter the final concentrations of inorganic arsenic, lead and cadmium. , without however specifying it was the same for fermented alcoholic beverages. may have substantial differences in their physical and chemical properties.
Researchers, led by Benjamin Redan and Lauren Jackson, FDA facilities in Chicago, say their study builds on earlier work to identify factors affecting the transfer of heavy metals from three types of diatomaceous filter aids from food grade to ale and lager beer, and red and white wine.
Wines from the United States, Australia, Argentina, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Germany, France and Italy. 39, Italy have been tested.
Beers have been tested in the United States, Australia, Scotland, Great Britain, Barbados, Germany, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Jamaica, Belgium and Holland.
The scientists found that all three types of diatomaceous earth contained arsenic, as well as smaller amounts of lead and cadmium.
When it was used to filter beer or wine in the laboratory, one of the diatomaceous earth samples had significantly increased arsenic, exceeding the safety limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb ) proposed by the FDA for apple juice.
But the amount of arsenic transferred into the beverages decreased when the beverage was exposed to less diatomaceous earth, the pH of the liquid was altered or the diatomaceous earth was washed beforehand.
The researchers also measured heavy metal levels in commercial beer and wine samples. Although they detected arsenic in drinks, levels were below 10 ppb, with the exception of two wine samples containing 18 and 11 ppb of arsenic.
The report indicates that beer and wine market sample analyzes indicate a wide range of heavy metal concentrations, but points out that the nature of the processing steps used in the production of commercial samples, including type and quantity of aids to filtration, is not known.