Tainted Wine Frequently Asked Questions

Tainted Wine Frequently Asked Questions

On March 19, 2015, a class action lawsuit was filed against several California wineries on behalf of California consumers. The suit claims that the defendants, “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”.

Below are common questions and information you should be aware of if you think you may have purchased one of the brands of the tainted wine.

This is a consumer class action that seeks, among other things, injunctive relief, civil penalties and damages to reimburse consumers failing to warn consumers about the danger of inorganic arsenic contaminated wines.

Consider researching more information about the harmful effects of inorganic arsenic to make an informed decision about consuming these products.

According to Sharon Goldberg, MD, a doctor of internal medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine:

"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:

  • 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)

Yes, you can be evaluated by an environmental health trained physician or a functional medicine specialist who can test for evidence of arsenic exposure.

A full list of wine labels that were determined to contain arsenic levels in excess of 10 parts per billion can be found here.

If you live in California and have purchased any of the wines identified with high levels of inorganic arsenic within the past four years, you may be eligible to join the class. If the lawsuit succeeds, consumers in the class will be notified by mail.

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