Written by SaVanna Shoemaker, MS, RDN, LD ~ above November 2, 2020 — median reviewed through Amy Richter, RD, Nutrition

Arsenic is an aspect found in most foods. It can be harmful and also lead come cancer if you exposed to high level of it, i m sorry is why the U.S. Ecological Protection agency (EPA) strictly regulates the arsenic content of drink water.

You are watching: High levels of arsenic in wine

Unfortunately, some varieties of wine might contain unsafe level of this element. This is partially because of the use of arsenic-containing pesticide in the past, and also natural absent erosion.

This short article reviews the arsenic contents of wine, which species of wines have the highest levels, even if it is you have to be concerned, and what to execute if you doubt you have actually arsenic poisoning.

Share ~ above PinterestStudio Firma/Stocksy United
What is it?
Arsenic is a naturally arising element that’s current in trace amounts in almost all foods. In many cases, these quantities aren’t high sufficient to be harmful.

However, in high doses and over time, the aspect is toxic and can significantly increase your hazard of developing lung, skin, and other types of cancer. Single episodes that high dose exposure can likewise cause short-term, or acute, poisoning (1, 2).

As such, the EPA tightly regulates the arsenic content of drink water, limiting it to no more than 10 components per exchange rate (ppb) (3).

In the past, ranches in the unified States and also elsewhere depended on arsenic-based pesticides and herbicides. Back these products have to be banned in the united States due to the fact that the 1980s, castle still reason problems today (1).

First, food grown in areas where these pesticide were once provided are greater in arsenic than foods grown elsewhere.

Second, this pesticides have likely leached into the underground water in numerous areas, increasing the arsenic content of the water it is provided (1).

Third, the organic and continuous erosion of absent can further increase the arsenic content of the water supply and soil, as well as the food grown in the (4).


Arsenic is a naturally arising substance that deserve to be harmful and also cause cancer in big doses. Because of natural erosion and also the previous use of arsenic-containing pesticides, particular foods and water sources might contain unsafe level of the element.

Does alcohol contain it?

Wine consists of arsenic. Although many wines contain low, not authorised levels, part wines contain levels that exceed the EPA’s drink water accuse of no more than 10 ppb.

For example, one research tested 65 red wines from 4 U.S. States and found that every one of them gone beyond the EPA guidelines because that drinking water — v an average arsenic level the 23 ppb (5).

Another examine tested a wider sample of wines native California and also found that 28 varieties that the media established as include high levels of arsenic had an typical of 25.6 ppb, while 73 randomly selected grocery store wines consisted of an typical of 7.4 ppb (6).

Interestingly, this study likewise identified a relationship between price and also arsenic content — the least expensive wines had the highest possible levels that the facet (6).

Types and also locations with the highest amounts

This table highlights the typical arsenic level of various species of California-made wines, according to one examine of 101 wine samples (6):

Type of wineAverage arsenic concentration
Rosé27.2 ppb
White10.9 ppb
Red6.8 ppb

As you can see, rosé wines included the highest levels, adhered to by white wines and also then red wines. According to the EPA’s drink water standards, just red wines consisted of safe levels, on mean (6).

That said, research studies of wine produced in Spain found that white wines were highest in arsenic, while research studies of wines created in Italy found that red wines consisted of the highest levels (7).

This mirrors that the arsenic contents of different types of alcohol varies and may be influenced by the wine’s area of origin (7).

This was an in similar way demonstrated through a examine of 65 wine samples throughout 4 U.S. States (5):

State of originAverage arsenic concentration
Washington27.4 ppb
Oregon12.6 ppb
California23.5 ppb
New York18.3 ppb

Ultimately, the differing levels identified between the kind and origin of wines suggest that more widespread experimentation is needed.


Wine’s arsenic levels count on its type and origin. One study noted the greatest levels in wines native Washington, when those v the lowest levels to be from new York. Among California-made wines, red species had the shortest levels.

Wine alone is incredibly unlikely to cause arsenic poisoning uneven you drink 1–2 glasses of the exact same high arsenic wine everyday for long periods, or if you regularly drink this wines together other lifestyle practices that reveal you come high quantities of the aspect (5).

What’s more, the EPA’s criter for drink water may not it is in relevant once it involves wine. Friend drink much much more water end your lifetime than wine, make it more important that the arsenic contents of water is strict regulated.

Choose the the safest wine

Here room some guidelines for purchasing the safest wine:

While you might think the organic wine would be a safer option, this isn’t necessarily the case. That’s since naturally arising arsenic have the right to leach right into the soil and also groundwater from absent erosion (4).

Additionally, the soil of an organic vineyard might still contain traces of arsenic-based pesticide if they to be once supplied in the very same location, and also this can affect the essential wine created there this day (1).

Other danger factors

You should take into consideration the full arsenic pack of your diet. Occasional or even consistent wine consumption may just pose a threat to your health if you’re likewise regularly eating high arsenic foods, such as (8):

apple cider and also apple juicemilkchicken and also beef brothcereal barsriceseafood, including amberjack fish, octopus, salmon, and also tuna

Tobacco commodities are likewise high in arsenic. Thus, smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco commodities may boost your exposure come the facet beyond safe levels (9).


To minimization arsenic exposure, opt because that mid- or higher-priced wines indigenous Oregon, brand-new York, or California. Additionally, reduce your intake of high arsenic foods and also use of tobacco products.

If you suspect you or who you’re caring because that is experiencing arsenic poisoning, right here are some of the short-term signs and also symptoms come look the end for (10):

diarrhea, which might be bloodylow blood pressuredehydrationcough or chest pain

Long-term exposure come the facet may likewise cause your skin to end up being darker, a persistent sore throat, confusion, lose of muscle control, and/or persistent digestive problems. The may also increase your danger of leukemia and also lung and skin cancer (10).


Arsenic poisoning can influence your skin, digestion, muscles, and heart rhythm. Chronic exposure to the substance have the right to darken your skin, reason a persistent ill throat, and/or lead to digestive issues.

If you think you’ve ingested too lot arsenic, seek medical treatment immediately.

Your medical care provider deserve to order tests to assess her blood levels, and skin, hair, and nail tests that assess your permanent exposure (11).

Receiving big quantities of arsenic-free water intravenously may assist flush excess arsenic native your system in the situation of momentary poisoning — although friend may likewise need electrolyte additionally (10, 11).

Complications led to by arsenic poisoning or long-term exposure may require more in-depth clinical treatment.


Seek medical care if you concerned about poisoning. Drink water may aid flush overfill arsenic from your system.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that’s uncovered in little amounts in virtually all foods. Unfortunately, pesticide use and rock erosion have introduced larger quantities of the element into the food and also water supply.

While the arsenic levels of some wines exceed the EPA’s drinking water standards, many wines show up to it is in safe. Additionally, it’s worth keeping in mind that drinking water standards room strict, together you drink significantly much more water than wine over your lifetime.

As such, even if she a regular wine drinker, you’re likely not at hazard of poisoning unless you’re also regularly exposed come high level of the element through high arsenic foods items or tobacco products.

See more: How Do I Make My Stomach Flat Stomach, 9 Tips For Flat Abs

If you suspect that you have actually arsenic poisoning, seek clinical attention immediately.