“Dig that heavy metal underneath your hood…”

by Katie Pizzuto on November 6, 2008

in vineyards,Wine

red_dirtHere I thought America had the reigning title for irresponsible, fear-mongering journalism, but apparently the Brits can hold their own, too. A new study from Kingston University in London claims that wines sourced from several different parts of the world may contain potentially hazardous levels of heavy metal ions, which could contribute to diseases like Parkinson’s when consumed regularly over a lifetime. According to the dolts, 13 out of 16 wines (not exactly an in-depth study, huh?) that were tested for potentially high levels of heavy metals, like iron, copper, lead, mercury, etc., had levels above recommended safe limits.

Where did this story originate, you might ask? Well, at the pinnacle of respectable online journalism known as WebMD, of course (where hot topics include penis enlargement and male sex hormones that get your lady “in the mood”). Did I mention that the researchers didn’t conduct the tests themselves?!? Nah! They pulled from a bunch of different texts, and apparently “no standards were used to judge the accuracy of the measurements from the numerous sources.” Let me repeat, They tested NO wine on their own.

Now that we understand how sound, irrefutable and bullet-hole free the research is, let’s talk about the specifics:

1. A typical 18-year-old would have to drink 8.5 ounces (1-2 glasses) of the tested wines for more than 17,000 days before reaching a level of concern. That’s 46½ years, people! AND, AND, AND Professor Naughton said they actually underestimated the risk to older or infirm drinkers who were more vulnerable to contaminants. Hey, gotta die of something, don’t we?

2. The levels of heavy metals they found are actually lower than what’s allowable in tested water reservoirs across the western world. So let’s do the math: If our drinking water is sometimes higher in metals than these wines, and people will drink two glasses of wine a night, but eight glasses of water per day (and if they take a multi-vitamin they get 2mg of manganese on top of that), how is the metal obtained from wine going to kill anyone? Beats the shit out of me, and I never even liked math!

3. They found that wines from Hungary and Slovakia had the highest heavy metal levels. Wines from Austria, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain showed the next highest. The wines from the Czech Republic, Greece, Jordan, Macedonia and Serbia were the next best, and wines from Argentina, Brazil and Italy were the only ones that supposedly contained “acceptable” levels of heavy metal ions. Does the fact that this “contamination” is apparently consistent throughout an ENTIRE country irk the crap out of anyone else but me? Is there some rampant soil problem in an entire fucking country no one is talking about? As wine geeks, we often wax eloquent about the vast differences in soils between two vineyards whose owners can watch each other doing the horizontal mambo from their windows at night. Now it’s all the same sad dirt?

I call bullshit.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John November 6, 2008

You don’t even want to know what showed up in the results of the New Jersey wines!

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2 Katie Pizzuto November 6, 2008

Yeah, John, what is it again that decomposing bodies give off….methane? 🙂

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3 Linsey November 6, 2008

you have no idea how much paranoid bull is in the brit papers – we are totally brilliant at BS here

almost every single food gives you cancer or helps you block cancer – makes you sterile or helps you get pregnant – is dangerous to an unborn or helps it develop the list goes on and if you look long enough over a year is totally contradictory too

when it comes down to it ‘never let the truth or sanity get in the way of a good story’ seems to be the motto of the brit press

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4 Alan Kropf November 6, 2008

Your last line makes a hell of a point…well said.

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5 Coupe 60 November 7, 2008

US wines not even mentioned…”USA …USA….USA”

Throw in some Malbec and some wines from the boot and I’m all set even if they are right…

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6 Katie Pizzuto November 7, 2008

Coupe, remember, the tests were run by BRITS….Brits don’t drink American wine, do they? I always thought there was a law against that across the pond. 🙂

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7 Linsey November 7, 2008

Brits drink basically californian wines – thats the only sort I can think of that are in the shops when I look for something to buy as a present

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8 Katie Pizzuto November 7, 2008

I was being a wise ass more than anything else, Lin, as I think most Americans view Brits as Francophiles….but it warms the cockles of my heart (yes, I have cockles) that they actually stock California wines over there!

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9 Linsey November 7, 2008

lol Brits are not totally Francophile winos – Brits stores have world wide wines – mind you it was a sod to find malbec wine here for Anthony

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10 Coupe 60 November 7, 2008

hehe you said cockles…

next thing we’ll be hearing about taint…:-)

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11 Vino Vangelist November 13, 2008

Get the temperature right and the enjoyment will be increased tenfold!

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