There are only two staples of living life as a broke college student: Ramen noodles and cheap boxed wine. Both are terrible for you, and once you enter adulthood, the thought of ingesting either ever again can send you running to the nearest toilet. Apparently though, only one of these things can actually kill you.
BeverageGrades, a Denver laboratory that analyzes different types of wine, has reportedly found high levels of arsenic in some of the cheapest and most popular brands of the alcoholic beverage. Kevin Hicks, the creator of the lab, claims to have tested over 1,300 bottles of vino after taking issue with the fact that there are hardly any federal labeling requirements to explain what exactly is in that bottle of fermented grapes. What he found was shocking:
The lower the price of wine on a per-liter basis, the higher the amount of arsenic. Some very, very high levels of arsenic.
Included in the wines tested was Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck White Zinfandel, a bottle of Ménage à Trois Moscato and a Franzia White Grenache. Each bottle arsenic levels came it at higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit for drinking water. Allan Smith, associate director of the Arsenic Health Effects research program at U.C. Berkeley, also tested some of the samples and confirmed that the levels found in the wine tested could have drastic effects over time:
These are about two to three times in this particular sample, the drinking water standard, and they vary, they fluctuated, but some of them were up to three, four or five times the drinking water standard. Arsenic is highly toxic; it’s astonishing. It has as many effects inside the body as cigarette smoking does. We estimate that approximately 1 in 100 people who drink water like that throughout their life will die from the arsenic, ultimately, due to mostly cancers from it.
To my fellow boxed wine club members, it was fun while it lasted.