Members of Congress Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) have introduced the “Arsenic Prevention and Protection from Lead Exposure Act of 2012”. From its acronym APPLE, the Act is alternatively titled the “APPLE Juice Act of 2012”.

The Act requires FDA to set tolerances (Maximum Contaminant Levels – MCLs), under Section 406 of the FDCA (Tolerances for Poisonous Ingredients in Food), for arsenic and lead in beverages containing fruit juices.

The Act further provides that, if FDA does not issue such regulations within 2-years of enactment, the tolerance levels (MCLs) for both poisons must be set no higher than the permitted levels for bottled water under FDCA Section 410 (Bottled Drinking Water Standards).

We note that the APPLE Juice Act follows, in its language, the pattern of FDCA Section 410 which also provides a similar default provision to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.

The text of HR 3984 is posted below along with a copy of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations which will assist the reader in understanding the relevant MCLs.

Author’s Note:

The press releases issued by both Representatives DeLauro and Pallone misuse the term “toxin”. In hope of reminding readers of proper terminology, arsenic and lead are correctly termed poisons, not toxins.

Toxin: a poison; frequently used to refer specifically to a protein produced by some higher plants, certain animals, and pathogenic bacteria, which is highly toxic for other living organisms. Such substances are differentiated from the simple chemical poisons and the vegetable alkaloids by their high molecular weight and antigenicity.

Poison: any substance that, when relatively small amounts are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed, or applied to, injected into, or developed within the body, has chemical action that causes damage to structure or disturbance of function, producing symptoms, illness, or death.

Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, 29th Ed., Saunders Elsevier, 2007.