Drinking beer or wine occasionally should not increase your arsenic exposure. If you have multiple drinks on a daily basis, pay attention to your total arsenic exposure through private well water, other foods or other sources.
Should you be concerned about arsenic in beer and wine?
It depends on:
- How much beer and wine you drink.
- What types of beer and wine you choose.
How much arsenic is in beer and wine?
All beer and wine contains some arsenic. Certain beer made with rice, rice wine (like sake) and some red or white wines may have higher amounts of arsenic in them than others.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- If you drink wine and beer on a daily basis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides a listing of arsenic content in beer and rice wines. Scroll down to beverages, and then to beer and rice wine, for content information on types of beer and rice wine. Brand names are not included. You could also check the manufacturer’s website to see if arsenic content is offered for the type of beer or wine you like to drink. Limit those products with higher levels of arsenic.
- If you choose beer and wine with higher concentrations, consider drinking less of them if your drinking water, food or other sources contain arsenic.
- Follow the What You Can Do action steps to reduce your total arsenic exposure.
Why is there arsenic in beer and wine?
- Wine is made from grapes, which may take up arsenic from soil and water through their roots. If the grapes are grown in a region where arsenic is naturally found at high levels or where arsenic-based pesticides were used in the past, the wine made from those grapes may have more arsenic.
- Beer or wine may contain higher levels of arsenic when rice is an ingredient, and rice takes up more arsenic than other plants.
- The specific sources of arsenic in beer are still being studied, but some studies suggest that the substance used for filtration could be introducing some arsenic. This may be the case for some wines as well.
Is there regulation of arsenic in beer and wine?
No. There are no federal laws limiting the amount of arsenic in beer and wine.
“Some beer and wine may contain higher amounts of arsenic. Consider drinking less of these if you are concerned about reducing your exposure to arsenic.”Dr. Iris Koch, Royal Military College of Canada