You may love the price of cheap wine but cringe at a dangerous chemical that is in it. Poison was not one of the things you read about on the label. According to a lawsuit filed against 28 California wineries they "produce and market wines that contain dangerously high levels of inorganic arsenic, in some cases up to 500 percent or more than what is considered the maximum acceptable safe daily intake limit” (1).
The lawsuit may or may not have merit depending on how the facts play out. A little extra arsenic is common in wines but stay way below dangerous levels. According to a study out of Cornell 1,300 bottles of wine tested only 83 showed up with 5X more arsenic than what would be found in water (2). The risks are relatively low and multiple tests seem to confirm this.
The type of wine that will be most likely to have higher levels of arsenic are cheaper white and blush wines that are from areas that need lots of irrigation. Cheaper wines are general produced in less healthy soils while quality wines are focused more on maximizing value from higher quality soil. You will pay a premium for the highest quality wines.
Wine and food can be mass produced like any other product. We see this with meat , chicken, and other mega agriculture. With a cheaper price comes the necessity to mass produce. It is that mass production that will create problems as repetitive actions are taken that raise pollution levels. Yet without that mass production products would be extremely expensive.
Unless something significant comes out of the lawsuit there isn’t much a consumer can do unless they are an avid reader on wines and know their berry backgrounds. Moving up in price to higher quality wines is one option but that wine will cost you more money. Stay tuned and continue to read websites, lists, and blogs on the quality of your wine and where it came from.