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Arsenic in Wine | Get the Facts

Get the Facts

The health and safety of consumers is of the greatest importance to Wine Institute and our 1,000 member wineries. The wines produced by our members are safe for responsible consumption.

  • Arsenic is prevalent in the natural environment in air, soil and water and food.
  • As an agricultural product, wines from all over the world contain trace amounts of naturally-occurring arsenic as do virtually all fruits, vegetables, grains water, juice and other beverages – and do not pose a risk to consumers.
  • Wines in the U.S. are regularly tested by the federal government, including the Tax and Trade Bureau and the Food and Drug Administration as part of its Total Diet Study (TDS), to ensure that wine is safe to consume. The TDS testing data over 20 years found that trace arsenic levels in wine pose no health risk and do not warrant the establishment of a limit in wine.
  • Even if wine had the same arsenic limit as the EPA standard for drinking water (10 parts per billion) based on the daily recommended intake for water of two liters per person, a person would need to consume up to 13.5 glasses of wine – nearly three bottles per day – to approach the level of arsenic consumption the EPA considers safe for drinking water. This amount would far exceed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines definition for moderate alcohol consumption of not more than one to two glasses of wine per day.
  • According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EPA standard for arsenic in drinking water “…is of limited use when considering any potential health risks related to arsenic in wine… People drink far more water than they do wine over their lifetimes, and they start drinking water earlier in life. Thus, both the amount and period of exposure are different and would require separate analyses.” – Former FDA Spokeswoman Lauren Sucher
  • Except for drinking water, the U.S. government has not published a limit for arsenic in any food or beverage. Canada and the O.I.V., an intergovernmental organization of 43 wine-producing countries, have set limits for wine ranging from 100 to 200 ppb – 10 to 20 times the level the EPA determined to be safe for drinking water. California wines fall well below these established limits, which these groups have determined are safe for wine.
  • All wine, regardless of where it is produced, contains trace amounts of arsenic. In 2014, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario Quality Assurance Laboratory tested 17,537 wines from around the world, including 2,247 wines from California. The data show that there is no difference in the trace levels in wines from around the world and wines from California. The LCBO also reviewed results from 200,000 wines tested over the last 12 years and found that the trace levels have remained consistent over time. All products that the LCBO Lab tested and subsequently offered for sale were below the maximum allowable limit for arsenic.
  • A 2014 lawsuit that attempted to raise questions about safety of some California wines, based EPA guidelines for drinking water was dismissed by the Los Angeles Superior Court on March 23, 2016 (and again dismissed by the California Court of Appeals on May 9, 2018). The court found no legal basis for any arsenic claim. The lawsuit’s allegations were completely false and not supported by scientific evidence.