High Level of Arsenic in Cheap Wines is not Only Toxic, It’s Also Carcinogenic, Study

A California lawsuit claims that some brands of cheaper wine in the market contain hazardously high toxic levels of arsenic.

Kevin Hicks, a researcher, has analyzed 1,300 bottles of wine and found that almost a quarter of them had higher levels of arsenic than what’s considered safe, according to a story reported by CBS News.

This research isn’t the first instance that would let you eye your glass of wine suspiciously for arsenic adulteration.  A few years back, a study was undertaken to determine the cause of how arsenic ended up in our system.

Brands such as Franzia White Grenache, Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Buck White Zinfadel and Menage a Trios Moscato contains up to 50 parts per billion of arsenic, the lawsuit exposed.

It may not seem much, but the figure stated is considerably higher than the 10 parts per billion level the EPA has approved for potable drinking water.

The question is what is the carcinogen arsenic, doing in wine?  No one can apparently say for sure, for Hicks’ research doesn’t draw any sturdy deductions about why cheaper is equal to significantly toxic. Some researchers are speculating that arsenic could infiltrate during filtration process that gives beer and wine their sparkly look. Others consider pesticides to be the perpetrator. Arsenic could occur naturally in the environment.

Predictably, winemakers weren’t jumping with joy, when the lawsuit came out.  A site has alleged that Hicks is trying to squeeze money out of big-box wine makers.

The distinction between wine and water is also critical because people drink much more water than wine.

So why the lawsuit? A spokesperson for a wine industry group was quoted as saying, “Hicks has direct financial interest in this. This isn’t about health concerns. It’s about someone’s economics.”

They believe that Hicks is targeting cheaper wines specifically because they are made by bigger merchants with more finances to shed in a high-profile lawsuit driven by public fears.

There are no labeling requirements for what’s in wine at present. No matter the outcome of this debacle the publicity will hopefully propel legislators into action, either with clearer labels or guidelines on how much arsenic should be considered acceptable in wine, so that everybody can go on to enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures and that is enjoying one’s favorite drink or two.



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