The show ran an episode revealing very high levels of arsenic in different brands of apple juice. KBOI launched an investigation into the apple juice on Boise grocery store shelves to see if our findings matched Dr. Oz's.
Oz's arsenic episode raised a lot of concern among parents. We spoke to Tristin Arnell, a Meridian mother, who says the idea that apple juice could eventually poison your children is a scary thought. "It's actually quite shocking for something as simple as apple juice. It's something a lot of people do give their children," Arnell said.
Parents across the country were up in arms after the controversial episode aired. That's when KBOI decided to see if there was indeed a toxic level of arsenic in the apple juice coming off our grocery store shelves.
We tested eight different brands of apple juice and apple juice mixes: Gerber, Tree Top, Langers, Old Orchard, HyTop, Martinellis, V8 Splash and Juicy Juice.
In Dr. Oz's experiment, Gerber and Juicy Juice brands came in with the highest arsenic levels. In Oz's study, Gerber juice tested at 36 parts per billion and Juicy juice tested at 22 parts per billion.
KBOI took those same juice brands to Analytical Laboratories in Boise to undergo the the same test. Our Gerber juice tested at 6 ppb and our Juicy juice came in with less than 5 ppb.
"We found in testing these eight samples of apple juice for arsenic, none of them had arsenic levels above the 10 part per billion national level for drinking water," Analytical Labs chemist, James Hibbs said.
The safe level for drinking water is 10 ppb. There is no standard for apple juice. Oddly enough, seven of the eight juices we tested didn't show positive results.
"Seven out of the eight apple juice samples we tested actually did not detect any arsenic and we had to put down less than our reporting level," Hibbs said.
KBOI's findings actually supported the letters the Food and Drug Administration sent to the Dr. Oz episode before the show aired. One line of the letter reads, "It would be irresponsible and misleading for the Dr. Oz show to suggest that apple juice is unsafe based on tests of total arsenic."
Critics say Oz sensationalized his tests, and implied drinking apple juice in the long term could hurt your children. We checked with a St. Alphonsus physician who agreed, arsenic can be dangerous.
"There are a few cancers that are more likely with long term arsenic exposure, bladder and lung would be the most likely. People could have blood pressure, blood vessel problems, again very rare and over along period of time," Dr. Patrice Burgess said.
Burgess also said if you drink any liquid with levels of arsenic below the safe limit, it's extremely unlikely you could get sick.
"I just can't even imagine if it's below the legal limit that you would be able to get enough apple juice into you to get enough arsenic - it would be extremely unlikely," she said.
All in all, according to KBOI's test of local apple juice, levels of arsenic are not a concern. As for Dr. Oz's theory, our Meridian mom, doesn't really agree.
"It does cause a sheer panic when it wasn't necessary,"Arnell said.