Researchers find arsenic in German beer

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Researchers can determine the source of arsenic in beer

"Beer must not contain any pollutants or heavy metals," most consumers believe. After all, beer in Germany is brewed according to the purity law. But many beers still contain arsenic. This is to blame for the diatomaceous earth filters that are often used in breweries, as a team of researchers now found.

In Germany, beer is brewed according to the purity law. Nevertheless, it happens again and again that arsenic is found in some varieties in the laboratory. According to scientists from the Technical University of Munich, the semimetal gets into the barley juice when it is filtered. Nevertheless, the researchers give the all-clear: during the analyzes, the arsenic values ​​of up to 24 micrograms per liter partially exceeded the German limit for drinking water of ten micrograms, but this relatively low value in drinking water was exceeded by many other European countries. In addition, the values ​​of the beer types affected had decreased significantly since the start of the laboratory samples. "The risk from the alcohol content in beer is greater than that from arsenic," according to the research team led by Mehmet Coelhan.

But it is now clear how the semi-metal gets into the beer. "The tests revealed that some diatomaceous earth samples released arsenic," says Coelhan. The values ​​are only slightly high, but could be clearly demonstrated. Because it is now clear how the substance gets into the beer, the breweries could draw their conclusions and use filters other than diatomaceous earth. According to Coelhan, it may be sufficient to clean the filter sand with water before use. Then the arsenic can be washed out. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended a drinking water limit of 10 micrograms per liter since 1992. In many industrialized countries in Europe and the USA, this value is sometimes exceeded significantly. In Germany, compliance with limit values ​​has been observed since the mid-1990s. (sb)

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