Tainted California Wines with high levels of Arsenic


Many popular, low priced, brands of wine contain illegal and dangerously high levels of poisonous inorganic arsenic, according to a lawsuit filed March 19, 2015 in California Superior Court [TaintedWine.com][USA Today].

The lawsuit claims that the 28 California wineries “produce and market wines that contain dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic, in some cases up to 500% or more than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit.”

Some of the popular wine brands named in the lawsuit include Franzia, Ménage à Trois, Sutter Home, Wine Cube, Charles Shaw, Glen Ellen, Cupcake, Beringer and Vendage. The wines named in the lawsuit are primarily inexpensive white or blush varietals including Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.

You can find more details on the lawsuit and the full list of the wines that are the subjects of the class action lawsuit at TaintedWine.com, a website that was created for consumers by the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.


The following are some of the information on Arsenic and its health concerns that are provided by TaintedWine.com.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring mineral found in over 200 different forms. Organic arsenic is commonly found in seafood and marine environments in forms that are presumed nontoxic. It is true that in general, inorganic arsenic species are more toxic than organic ones, BUT this is not 100% correct. Certain organic arsenic species used extensively in agriculture are thought to be toxic, and toxicity depends on a number of factors.

According to Sharon Goldberg, MD, a doctor of internal medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the health risks for consumers who drink wine with elevated inorganic arsenic levels are:

  • Various cancers including skin cancers, lung, kidney, liver, colon, bladder
  • Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, specifically ischemic heart disease (heart attack)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Chronic lung disease

Arsenic can adverse health effects on anyone, but some people are more at risk, including:

  • Regular consumers of alcohol
  • Cigarette smokers
  • Individuals under high stress, consuming large amounts of sugar
  • Individuals with nutrient deficiencies (B6, Mg, Se)
  • Elderly, children
  • Carriers of certain genetic mutations such as GSTM1 or MTHFR who have impaired detoxification capacity (are unable to remove toxins from the body as well as someone without the mutation)

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