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Filtered Beer & Wine can have Higher Arsenic and Lead Levels

Filtered BeerThere have been many research publications in recent years detailing the heavy metal levels in alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, but few of these investigate how the processing of these beverages may influence the levels of toxic metals. The results of a new study by Redan et. al. published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (February 2019) show a clear correlation between the filtration of beer and wine using diatomaceous-earth (DE) filter media and the concentration of inorganic arsenic and lead in the beverage. However, these elevated concentrations can be mitigated through careful selection of DE media or pre-rinsing of the filter aids. Brooks Applied Labs offers a full range of analytical testing services for heavy metals and inorganic arsenic speciation in beverages of all types.

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In the News (Again) – Arsenic in Baby Food

BAL CBC Baby Food TestBrooks Applied Labs was recently mentioned in a Canadian Broadcasting Company news segment on their investigation into arsenic concentration of baby foods sold in Canada. BAL performed the testing which showed some baby foods contained inorganic arsenic above the US FDA guideline and the EU regulatory limit of 100 ppb. While minimizing exposure to this harmful element is beneficial to people of all ages, it is especially important for infants due to their smaller size and proportionally larger calorie requirements.  Our testing showed some baby foods contained inorganic arsenic above the US FDA guideline and the EU regulatory limit of 100 ppb.  Read more about the CBC Marketplace investigation here, or watch the full news program here.

Compared to other grains, rice is known to contain higher levels of the toxic and carcinogenic element arsenic.  But the arsenic concentrations and the proportion of the more harmful inorganic arsenic forms can vary widely in rice depending on a number of factors, including where the rice is grown, the growing conditions, and how it is processed after harvesting.  Quantifying the more toxic inorganic arsenic forms via speciation analysis, which Brooks Applied Labs has been performing for decades, is therefore necessary to assess arsenic-related risks due to rice consumption.

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Arsenic and Lead in Fruit Juice

Arsenic in Fruit JuiceEveryone knows that too much of a good thing can be bad. But what happens when even a little of a good thing can be harmful?  Consumer reports tested different fruit juices for cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic. The results were startling.  Click here for a detailed description of the juices tested and potential health risks.

Contact us for more information about trace metals and metal(loid) speciation analyses.

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Choosing the Appropriate Method for Arsenic Speciation

When routine analytical testing indicates that a sample contains elevated levels of arsenic, more detailed characterization is often warranted. Performing arsenic speciation analysis – where specific molecular forms of arsenic are individually quantified – is often critical; however, if you don’t select the most appropriate analytical method, you can end up without the data you need or paying too much for data that is not helpful. But with dozens of potential arsenic species and numerous analytical options available, deciding what analyses to request can sometimes seem overwhelming. Brooks Applied Labs has decades of experience offering advanced arsenic speciation services and can help you choose an appropriate approach to meet the objectives and budget of your project.

Differentiating between the two most common forms of inorganic arsenic, arsenite and arsenate, is generally required for determining an appropriate treatment method for water samples known to contain elevated arsenic concentrations. This is because arsenate is typically directly amenable to conventional treatments like adsorption or co-precipitation, but arsenite is not. While arsenite and arsenate may be the most common arsenic species in simple waters, those from reducing environments or with significant biological activity can contain more unique species such as thioarsenicals or organic arsenicals like monomethylarsonic acid, dimethylarsinic acid, and trimethylarsine oxide. Moreover, certain sample types like landfill gas condensates can even contain volatile arsenic species like trimethylarsine. Brooks Applied Labs has developed methods tailored for the collection, preservation, and analysis of not just simple waters, but also these more complex ones to ensure that our clients can trust the integrity of their data.

While individually quantifying arsenite and arsenate provides crucial information for water samples, it is often unnecessary for biota and food. Most promulgated or proposed regulations for these latter sample types only set limits on the inorganic arsenic content, which they define as the sum of arsenite and arsenate. Examples of such regulations are California’s Proposition 65, the US FDA’s proposed limits for juices and infant rice cereal, and the WHO-FAO and EC limits for inorganic arsenic in rice products. Therefore, requesting inorganic arsenic quantitation in food and biota, rather than differentiation between arsenite and arsenate, typically suffices and can save clients money. But quantifying other species beyond inorganic arsenic is vital as an additional quality control check: comparing the sum of detected arsenic species against the separately determined total arsenic concentration (i.e., determining the mass balance) helps evaluate the completeness and accuracy of the data. Measuring other less common arsenic species can also be important for projects investigating the bioavailability, toxicity, or metabolism of arsenic.

Brooks Applied Labs understands that each project is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach is never in the client’s interest. We offer numerous preparatory and analytical methods, customized for the sample matrix and target analytes, and have experienced staff available to help you decide what fits your individual needs. Should your next project require more detailed characterization for arsenic in waters, biota, food, soils, sediments, or another matrix, please contact us to see how we can help!

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Did You See the Recent News About Heavy Metals in Baby Food?

Baby Eating FoodConsumer Reports recently published a study that evaluated the levels of certain heavy metals in 50 different baby food products. As you may recall this is a topic in which BAL has previously been involved by working with Healthy Babies Bright Futures and it continues to garner national attention. The reason for concern is simple and is stated in the Consumer Reports article, “‘Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller size and developing brains and organ systems,’ says James E. Rogers, Ph.D., director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports.” For this reason, BAL is continuously working to be the industry leader in food testing by not applying a “one-size-fits-all” approach to various food matrices.

By evaluating the ingredients of each food and beverage product, particularly when performing speciation, BAL ensures that the correct preparation approach is chosen, and the results will be representative of what is actually being consumed. This becomes particularly important for infant and toddler foods because small inaccuracies in quantitation can be far more impactful to the long-term health and development of the children consuming these products.

If you would like to learn more about how we can assist with your food, beverage, or supplement testing needs, you can visit our webpage on this topic or Contact Us to get pricing or any other information specific to your request.

BAL Scientists Present at NEMC: Presentations Now Available for Download

NEMC LogoAt the National Environmental Monitoring Conference (NEMC) in New Orleans last month, two of our BAL scientists presented in the session “Metals and Metals Speciation Analysis of Environmental Samples”. Annie Carter’s presentation focused on the determination of elemental mercury in soils by selective volatilization, while Brian Smith’s presentation described a method comparison for the analysis of bioaccessible lead and arsenic in soils. Contact us today to learn more about either of these recently developed methods!