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Comment & Response |

Arsenic in Rice and Other Foods—Reply

Ana Navas-Acien, MD, PhD1,2; Keeve Nachman, PhD, MHS1,3
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
2Department of Epidemiology, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
3Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Center for Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(2):298-299. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11990.
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In Reply In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specified a 23-µg/L (or parts per billion) “level of concern” for arsenic in apple and pear juice, noting that samples exceeding this level would be considered, along with “other factors,” to determine whether regulatory action would be needed. Neither the other factors nor the nature of the regulatory action were specified.1

In July 2013, after our article was published, the FDA proposed an action level of 10 µg/L for inorganic arsenic in apple juice,1 the same level set by the Environmental Protection Agency for arsenic in drinking water. The proposed action limit is based on quantitative risk assessment using data on lung and bladder cancer cases from southwestern Taiwan. The increasing evidence for arsenic health effects at low-to-moderate arsenic levels, including both cancer and noncancer end points,25 should be considered to evaluate the adequacy of 10 µg/L as the action level for apple juice.


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February 1, 2014
Gail Charnley, PhD
1HealthRisk Strategies, Washington, DC
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(2):298. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11994.
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