Arsenic fears force grandmother to stop buying apple juice

YAKIMA -- There are a lot of questions and uncertainty after revelations some apple juice contains arsenic. It's understandable considering how much juice children drink and whether the fear is justified. The findings could impact our vital apple industry here in the Yakima Valley.

As a part-time caretaker to both her grandchildren and great grandchildren, Judy Jeffery takes keeping them safe very seriously. Almost as seriously as they take their drink of choice, apple juice.

"She drinks apple juice by the gallon," Jeffery said. "She won't touch water hardly at all. You just have to force her."

Her granddaughter Serenity refuses to drink anything else. All of her grandchildren love apple juice. Alarms sounded with her after seeing reports on dangerous amounts of lead and arsenic found in the juice.

Jeffery said she stopped buying juice for fear it could hurt her grandchildren.

It's too soon to tell how many people stopped buying apple juice, but if enough do, the state of Washington would definitely feel it in a negative way.

"The processing industry in this state is a significant industry so it would be a high amount," said Christian Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council.

Schlect said juice is not the main use for apples here. Only 20% of the apples go to make juice. Still, that 20% is part of the $100 million a year industry for the Pacific Northwest. Most of that money is generated from Washington.

The Northwest Horticultural Council deals with issues effecting growers and shippers. It said apple juice producers haven't expressed concerns yet and aren't expected to, but it's hard to know what to expect.

The council says it's the first time there have been claims of dangerous amounts of lead and arsenic in juice.

Click here to view Consumer Reports' full study on arsenic levels in fruit juices.

Watch KBOI's investigation results on arsenic levels in apple juices here.

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