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Sen. Blumenthal Urges Speedy Review of Arsenic Guidelines

WASHINGTON —Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who recently urged energy drink makers to stop marketing to children, is now imploring the Office of Management and Budget to swiftly review guidelines proposed by the Food and Drug Administration to limit the amount of arsenic in juice.

“I’m writing OMB to remind the agency that there are human costs to delay,” wrote Blumenthal. “Parents should not have to worry about whether the juice they give their child has arsenic.”

In January 2012, a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that roughly 10% of juice tested had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards. Most of the arsenic was inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.

While federal limits exist for arsenic and lead in bottled and drinking water, none are defined for fruit juices. The FDA committed to conducting tests and offering new guidelines related to arsenic in juice, in response to the report.

“It’s recently been reported in [Consumer Reports] and other publications that the FDA has been waiting on OMB for review of this new guidance for some time now,” said Blumenthal in his letter.

He calls on the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to swiftly review the proposed actions or explain the reason for its delay and propose an alternate timeline. An Executive Order states that the OMB has 90 days to issue final regulations.

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