A high amount of “concerning toxic elements” have been detected in some popular soft drinks, researchers have said.

A study conducted at Tulane University has identified five drinks that contain levels of a toxic metal that come above federal drinking water standards.

During the experiment, the team of researchers tested 60 different American soft drinks and mixed-fruit juices. They measured for 25 different toxic metals and trace elements.

The academics found that two mixed juices contained levels of arsenic higher than the 10 microgram/litre standard.

Nearly all the popular fruit juice and soft drink beverages tested in the study contained some level of lead.

In addition, they detected levels of cadmium exceeding the three parts per billion standard in a mixed carrot and fruit juice, a cranberry juice and an oat milk.

According to the results, plant-based milks and mixed-fruit juices contained the most amount of toxic metals.

Metals found in the beverages included arsenic, boron, selenium, strontium, cadmium, manganese and nickel, the study has reported.

Senior author Tewodros Godebo said: “It was surprising that there aren’t a lot of studies out there concerning toxic and essential elements in soft drinks in the United States. This creates awareness that there needs to be more study.

“People should avoid giving infants and young children mixed-fruit juices or plant-based milks at high volume.”

Tewodros added: “Arsenic, lead, and cadmium are known carcinogens and well established to cause internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children especially during early brain development. These metals are naturally occurring so it’s hard to get rid of completely.”

Hannah Stoner and Julia Ashmead participated in the study. They said: “I don’t think there needs to be fear.

“In toxicity, it’s the dosage that often makes the difference so everything in moderation. But this creates awareness that there needs to be more study.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.

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