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Gary Giordano Released from Aruban Jail; Concerns about Arsenic in Apple Juice
Aired November 30, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
The suspect in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner is back in the U.S. tonight. Her friends are here and they aren`t happy.
There`s arsenic in apple juice, no doubt about that. Possibly a worry or much ado about nothing?
And Tracey Gold is with us, better than ever after a long-ago battle with anorexia.
Let`s get started.
Welcome. And tonight, Gary Giordano, the man suspected in the disappearance of his travel companion, Robyn Gardner, is a free man. He`d been in custody in Aruba for nearly four months now. Prosecutors apparently did not have enough evidence to hold him any longer. Watch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The man held in Aruba in connection with a Maryland woman`s disappearance is now free and probably headed back to the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That leaves no one in custody for the presumed death of Robyn Gardner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently, this guy would go online, get to know women in their late 40s who were in good shape, attractive women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was erratic. He was a little violent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He and Robyn Gardner visited Aruba last summer together. Investigators say he told them they were snorkeling when she disappeared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should they decide to extradite him, Gary`s not going to run from anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he remains, prosecutors say, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Robyn Gardner.
PINSKY: Gardner vanished in Aruba over the summer. Aruban authorities say Gary Giordano is the prime suspect. Giordano`s back in the United States tonight.
Joining me to discuss this, Criminal Defense Attorney, Mike Eiglarsh; Richard Forrester, Robyn Gardner`s boyfriend, and with us by phone, Reece Armstrong, she`s a good friend of Robyn.
Reece, do you have an initial reaction to Gary`s release?
REECE ARMSTRONG, FRIEND OF ROBYN GARDNER, FREDERICK, MARYLAND (via telephone): I mean, obviously, it angered all of us. We definitely know that he`s guilty, so, you know, it`s pretty disappointing.
PINSKY: Here`s Chris Lejuez, attorney for Gary Giordano talking about Gary`s reaction to being released. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS LEJUEZ, GARY GIORDANO`S ARUBA ATTORNEY: His first reaction was that he couldn`t believe it, because he has been, in the meantime, lost all expectations and confidence in our system. His second was an emotional reaction, whereby when I asked him what he really feels about his release, he started to cry, and asked me to excuse him for a few minutes, which I did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Now, Reece, you knew both Robyn and you also knew Giordano, is that correct?
ARMSTRONG: No, I never met Gary.
PINSKY: Never met him. Do you feel the Aruban authorities did everything they could to find Robyn?
ARMSTRONG: You know, their laws are very different from ours, so I can`t blame Aruba from what happened. Definitely with Gary, his stories don`t add up at all. So I feel that there could have been more done. You know, it`s someone that we love, so of course we`re going to feel that way.
PINSKY: Reece, I don`t in any way want to disparage Rob - the memory of Robyn, but the people are just trying to figure this out. What was she doing down there with that guy? And I think - and have you and I spoken before, Reece?
ARMSTRONG: I believe so, yes.
PINSKY: Yes. And it`s the same kind of question I had for you last time, which is, we`re all shaking our head going, come on, what was going on there? And does Robyn have any culpability here, and is some innocent man being held down there for four months? What do you say to people who think that way?
ARMSTRONG: I can understand why people think that way, for sure. I mean, like I said before, you know, Robyn was going through a hard time, she just lost her job, and, you know, Gary, a trusted friend of hers, not a boyfriend, a friend, had offered her that I have this trip, you know, do you want to go on a trip? And so she went to clear her mind, I guess.
PINSKY: Now, we know now - we know, as you said, that apparently they were friends, but they apparently met on a website, we`re hearing? I`m hearing lots of rumors, so I want to try to toss them out here. I don`t know what`s fact and what`s fiction, but one thing I`m hearing is they found one other on an adult website, friendfinder.com, and we also hear that very inappropriate, you know, pornographic-kinds of pictures of Robyn were found on Giordano`s camera.
Look at the Aruba Solicitor General Taco Stein on NBC`s "Today" Show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, CO-ANCHOR, NBC`S "TODAY" SHOW: There are reports this morning I`d like you to comment about that photographs have been found on the digital camera belonging to Mr. Giordano that have been described by some as beyond pornographic.
TACO STEIN, ARUBA SOLICITOR GENERAL: I can admit that a camera has been confiscated and is looked at presently by the police to see what`s on it and whether or not it has bearing on our investigation. Well, you understand that I`m not in the position to comment upon what`s upon the camera, what kind of pictures those are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Richard, I`m going to echo my friend Matt Lauer and ask you to comment on that observation or that alleged story.
RICHARD FORESTER, ROBYN GARDNER`S BOYFRIEND: Sure. You know, I couldn`t - didn`t see the pictures, I don`t know what context they were taken in. Certainly, I`ve got my own questions about it, but, you know, if those pictures were being taken, I`ll guarantee that those were not voluntarily, you know - she didn`t do it with - under her own free will or she didn`t know that they were happening. That`s really all I could say about it. She would never stand for something like that.
PINSKY: So, Richard, that`s the part, again, I want you to help us -
PINSKY: -- again, all the people that are out there, hearing this story, hearing it again, shaking their head, trying to figure out how this happened.
FORESTER: You know - you know, Dr. Drew, you know -
PINSKY: Yes, please?
FORESTER: -- here`s the thing. There`s all these rumors, there`s all this BS drama that`s going on, and it`s exactly that. It`s BS. It has nothing to do with anything. You know, the fact is that he got out, yes, he got out of prison. Well, Aruba dropped the ball there, OK. Robyn`s missing.
FORESTER: That`s the bottom line there. There`s rumors and there`s rumors about Robyn, there`s rumors about me. There`s rumors about everybody, but none of it matters. None of it pertains to anything.
PINSKY: All right. But Richard - Richard, I love the path you`re going down here. And you`re absolutely right. I think we don`t have a body, we don`t have a story. We have a guy that`s out, held appropriately or inappropriately. We have no idea. We know - we know really no more than we did when this all started.
But do me a favor. Put the rumors to rest. Come on. Let`s do it right now. What have you heard about you, what have you heard about her, and address them right now?
FORESTER: Well, there`s rumors about Robyn that, you know, she had - she was, you know, taking these pictures. Well, she would never stand for that, OK? There`s rumors about me that I`m an accomplice. I mean, come on. Really? There`s rumors about me -
PINSKY: I`ve heard -
FORESTER: Go ahead.
PINSKY: I don`t mean to interrupt you, I`ve heard rumors, and these are really - you know, they`re mean rumors that she was some sort of escort and you didn`t know it. Have you heard those?
FORESTER: I`ve heard that and I laugh at that. That`s ridiculous. Dr. Drew, she spent when she wasn`t at work 95 percent of her time with me. She and I drove to work together. She worked. She and I met each other after work. We went home together. So, you know, that - those rumors are ridiculous. Those are absolutely ridiculous.
PINSKY: Reece - Reece, I`m going to go back out to you and give you a chance to respond to them as well.
ARMSTRONG: I mean, honestly, Dr. Drew, look at the situation. You know, she traveled to Aruba with Gary. There`s video footage of him going to his car, getting cups of what he claims (INAUDIBLE) are orange juice, and all of a sudden she`s gone.
I mean, honestly, it`s pretty obvious to me that he had some kind of drugs involved. So I can`t imagine what else he has on her, or what he did to her.
Now, here`s part of the statement from the prosecutor`s office. Here`s what they say. "We are disappointed in today`s decision of the high court, which upheld the investigating magistrate`s decision not to extend the detention of Gary Giordano. While we believe the circumstances warranted his detention, we respect the court`s ruling."
Mark, I`m finally getting to you here. Did the judge make the right decision?
MARK EIGLARSH, ATTORNEY: I do believe that he did. And that`s not to say that I believe in this guy`s innocence, far from it. A lot of inconsistencies, bizarre behavior. A $1.5 million accidental life insurance policy.
Drew, if I took one out on my wife, she`d say, like, "You know what, I think I`m going to stay home with the kids, you go enjoy yourself." Who does that?
But that being said -
PINSKY: I don`t know about -
EIGLARSH: -- what the -
PINSKY: Go ahead.
EIGLARSH: -- what the prosecutors have right now is proof beyond every reasonable doubt, 100 percent, that he`s definitely, without any question, probably maybe guilty. And that`s never enough for a court of law.
EIGLARSH: It`s enough for the court of public opinion that has him getting away with murder, for sure.
PINSKY: Yes. I think you`re right. Do you have any comments to make about these rumors and things we`re hearing? Do they figure in any way into this case, do you think?
EIGLARSH: Are you talking about me, what I think?
EIGLARSH: I think the only thing that really matters, well, I don`t like to comment on rumors, because I don`t know if they`re fact or not. What matters is hard-core evidence, what do they have? You know, they alleged that there were four women from the past that he was allegedly alarmingly aggressive with. I don`t know.
You know, does that matter here? It does in the court of public opinion. I don`t know if that would even come into evidence. The bottom line is we don`t have a body, we don`t have - we don`t have anything. We don`t know how this all went down.
We just know his behavior is bizarre, he can`t tell the same story twice. His behavior is just inconsistent with an innocent person, one would argue, but nevertheless, legally, he must be set free.
PINSKY: And I just - what I was getting at Mark, and you`re going to stay with me and we`re going to discuss these legal issues a little more. Richard, you`re going to stay as well. Reece, thank you for joining us.
But my question was, I wonder if she was just getting a bad wrap because there`s sort of questionable circumstance and she`s being treated prejudicially because she`s a woman in a nefarious circumstance and oh, well, we`ll just kind of wink, wink, let it go. It`s not the U.S. judicial system. I don`t know how it works down there.
Now, next, what will it take for Gary Giordano to be charged? Remember, the $1.5 million life insurance policy is out there, as Mark had brought up with us. We`re going to get into that a little more after the break.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOSE BAEZ, GARY GIORDANO`S ATTORNEY (voice-over): Certainly if Robyn was still alive, she would have turned up by now, she would have presented herself, and Gary wouldn`t be going through this.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEJUEZ: When I asked him what he really feels about his release, he started to cry and asked me to excuse him for a few minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was erratic, he was a little violent. Like, one time I happened to touch his hair by accident, and he like, literally, like yanked my arm really hard, and it was like really scary. And he was, let`s say, quite physically aggressive, inappropriately.
Apparently he has cameras in his house, where he videotapes people and he has cameras all around his home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Missing in Aruba, Gary Giordano walks free tonight. Starting to look a lot like or feel like the Natalee Holloway case. There are similarities. Mystery unfolds in the Tropical Island of Aruba, beautiful American blond vanishes. No one has a body. Authorities are forced to release their prime suspect due to lack of evidence.
Joining us now to discuss this, Florida Prosecutor Stacey Honowitz. Stacey, what`s the main difference between U.S. and Aruban law, and is that having - is that somehow coming to bear on this story?
STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, in order to hold somebody, you know, to be charged, it`s probable cause in the States. Down there, it`s basically serious suspicion. But each time they move to an extension, the level of evidence really had to be higher. And that`s why at this juncture the prosecutor didn`t present enough to keep him in.
The bottom line is, lots of people, and as Mark said, the court of public opinion feels as though there was enough to keep him in. And we don`t know what the prosecutors presented. But there was a series of circumstances that certainly people would believe that there is a serious suspicion that he`s involved in the murder and should be held.
There`s inconsistent stories. He couldn`t tell the same story twice. There was blood found on a towel. There were photographs that are now being examined forensically. There`s different things. There`s an insurance policy that was taken at that he tried to cash in right away. He didn`t try to stay on the island. He left as she was missing.
So we don`t know what was presented to the court, but certainly, as a prosecutor, I would think that these series of circumstances would be enough and serious suspicion to hold him for the charge of murder.
PINSKY: Stacey, what do you think about my theory that her being a young woman down there in sort of nefarious circumstances somehow paints her in a way that, you know, allowed them to push this aside?
HONOWITZ: I would hope that that wouldn`t be a consideration for the judges in this case, and for the appellate review in this case. I don`t think the fact that she voluntarily went there with him, that she had a boyfriend, and I don`t even know if any of that stuff came into evidence. It might have been brought in by the defense, but I don`t think that`s the reason why they let him out.
I think the fact of the matter is, there`s nobody - and what they`re thinking is, what can we attach him to? What can we say?
We don`t know, like I said, what was presented. We don`t know if his story ever panned out. It obviously is inconsistent. We don`t know if he went snorkeling, and there was a witness that came forward that totally negated what he had to say in his statement.
So, you have to remember one thing, Dr. Drew. You know, the fact of the matter is, he remains a prime suspect. It doesn`t mean that this case is over. If more evidence comes forward, and they have enough, they will charge him and he very likely would be extradited for the charge of murder.
PINSKY: Who`s going to be collecting this evidence, the Aruban authorities that have been sort of meandering through this, or are there, you know, more capable, let`s say? I mean, we - the Natalee Holloway case was certainly an example of things not going so great. Are there other organizations down there trying to work on this?
HONOWITZ: Yes, well, you know, they had to take a lesson from Natalee Holloway, because certainly the fact that she was missing and everyone said that the investigation was botched, it really took a toll on their tourist, you know, trade down there.
So you would think that the FBI or somebody else would get involved, because we certainly have more of a capability over here forensically. Technology is better. So you would think that somebody else would try to get involved in this case.
We don`t want it to be another one of those cases where, you know, things happen. He`s taken back in, and then an investigation never really pans out. So hopefully, now, the fact that he`s out doesn`t mean the investigation`s going to stop. It really might put more of a push for them to get another agency involved.
PINSKY: Mark, do you agree with Stacey? And, you know, are they getting - do you think they got close to charging him?
EIGLARSH: That I don`t know, because I`m not privy to the evidence. But I absolutely agree with Stacey, and the people at home need to understand, this is not done. There just isn`t sufficient evidence at this time, according to the appellate court, to hold him. That doesn`t mean that they can`t -
PINSKY: Mark, let me - let me interrupt you.
PINSKY: I want to interrupt you, because - because it feels like -
EIGLARSH: Sure. It`s your show, why not? Yes.
PINSKY: -- I think that`s what`s so - OK, thank you.
I think that what`s disturbing about this is that it feels like it`s done.
PINSKY: You know, it`s like, oh, my goodness, here we go again. It`s - you know, who`s going to pay attention to this? Well, you don`t have a guy down there.
PINSKY: There`s no body. They`ve done thing.
EIGLARSH: And -
PINSKY: Nothing turned up. You know where this is going, cold case. A cold case.
EIGLARSH: Right, and - and the fear that if they do get enough evidence, then they have to petition the United States to extradite him. Will he ever come back? Will he ever stay in the United States?
These are all concerns of ours. Our best chance of getting justice, assuming we believe that he did this, and most people do, would have been under these circumstances and him not getting out.
But, again, the evidence raises more questions than does solve any - any - provides any answers. I mean, how did this happen? We don`t know for sure.
PINSKY: Yes. And, as you mentioned, Giordano took out a huge accidental death travel policy on himself and Robyn Gardner. Now, isn`t that the motive, don`t we think, here, Mark, Stacey?
EIGLARSH: I do. I mean, I - you know, I can`t imagine why someone would do that. What, because they think that they`re going to be engaged in some type of dangerous activity that they`ve got to protect, you know, each other?
I think that that`s clear motive. I think you rarely have that kind of motive. We didn`t have it in the Casey Anthony case. We were speculating. Here`s there`s $1.5 million reasons why he wanted her off, why he wanted to allege that it was an accident.
So, yes, I think that`s compelling.
HONOWITZ: Yes. And I think the behavior after the fact, you know, even if he took out the policy, people want to take a step back and say, oh, well, maybe he decided to take it out.
The idea that he rushed to cash that policy in, didn`t even give it time to do in a bit, to try to find her, even if he wants to tell you that she drowned, to try to locate her. He moved quickly on that, and I think that`s huge motive.
PINSKY: Now, he is out now, and here is Giordano`s lawyer, our friend, Jose Baez, from the Casey Anthony circumstances. He`s talking about Giordano`s release here on ABC. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BAEZ (voice-over): We`re hoping that, of course, this is the end of it. However, you know, he - he`s not running, so if they have a legal basis to require him to come back, he`s going to come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Mark, I`ve got about 30 seconds. Do you think if they ask him to come back, that he`ll fight it?
EIGLARSH: Of course. In fact - in fact, if his lawyer just hands him over, he`s not doing his job. I would expect him to fight it. He feels that they - he wasn`t treated fairly throughout this process. Why would he go willingly back to Aruba?
I think that`s Jose Baez talk, and it`s Jose doing, you know, his job.
PINSKY: And Richard, last word to you, 15 seconds, what do you hope, going forward?
FORESTER: I hope they find her. I hope they concentrate more on finding her and track her down somewhere. First of all, remember, she`s missing, and, second of all, we don`t know if she`s dead or not. We can hope and pray, but we - we don`t know.
PINSKY: All right, my friends. Thoughts stay with you. Thank you, my panel, Mark, Stacey.
Coming up, arsenic in apple juice. Now, news reports may have you pouring it down the sink. Stop right now if that`s what you`re doing.
I`m going to answer your questions. We`ll present the facts, how they - listen, everybody, you need to listen to this. I`ve - I`ve got some thoughts on it.
Actress Tracey Gold also joins us for a frank discussion about anorexia. Stay - stay here.
PINSKY: Welcome back. Tonight in the "On Call" section, we`re going to be discussing a little bit about arsenic found in bottled juices. And I want your reaction to Gary Giordano`s release from jail in Aruba.
Here we go now. Wendy on Facebook writes, "Sadly, I think Robyn is dead. I hope I`m wrong. It doesn`t matter what country anymore. If you keep your mouth shut, you walk. I`m sure Aruba will be blamed again for the same crap that happens there daily. I just don`t know anymore."
I hope you`re wrong, Vickie, on all fronts - I`m sorry, it`s not Vickie. It`s Wendy. I hope you`re wrong on all fronts. I hope that she`s not dead, but you`re right. I mean, the evidence is she`s not been heard from, she probably is. I and hope they do find some evidence that helps us understand what went on there.
Vickie writes, "My advice to anyone who is dating someone that you don`t trust: don`t go to Aruba. You may not make it home." Solid advice. Hear, hear. I`ll say cheers to that, huzzah to that one.
All right, switching gears, a topic we`ll be talking about a bit after the break, there`s growing concerns about reports regarding arsenic in bottled juices. Now, you`ve been asking me questions all day online about this, so let`s get to some of your calls.
Here`s Linda in Pennsylvania. Go ahead.
LINDA, ALTOONA, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Linda.
LINDA: I`m actually calling about the fact that they found arsenic, possibly, in the juices.
LINDA: My doctor just recently asked me to start drinking more 100 percent fruit juices.
LINDA: And I`ve done - I`ve been doing that for fiber, but now I`m just really concerned about the fact that they found these arsenic levels in the juices. And, I`m just wondering, what`s your opinion is on this, and, you know, maybe how much I should consume or should I -
PINSKY: Linda -
LINDA: -- just stop drinking the juices all together?
PINSKY: Linda, you`re making me crazy, honey. My advice, follow your doctor`s orders. We`re - we`re talking about the differences of five parts per billion in what`s acceptable versus what they`re finding in these juices.
Go ahead and drink the juices. Do not worry about it, please. I get - I`m getting upset. I`m sure I`m going to be upset in the next segment, thinking about people out there -
All right, let me address this right here, right now. Everybody, there`s virtually no such thing as a medical headline. Do you understand me? When you - we, as physicians, when we hear - find some fantastic new research, we think, oh, when it gets read on about 45 times and the research proves itself again and again, then maybe we have something that is in the range of truth. But there`s no such thing as a headline.
You want a headline? HPV was just approved for young males. That`s a - that`s a vaccine that prevents cancers in males. Treats - prevents cancer. That`s kind of a headline.
The Salk vaccine, that was a headline.
Five parts per billion arsenic in fruit juice isn`t going to mean a thing to anybody. It just isn`t. So, please, follow your doctor`s order. Sleep well tonight.
Lynn in Florida, go ahead.
LYNN, TAMPA, FLORIDA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Lynn.
LYNN: I was under the impression that the juice that contained arsenic or lead was organic, but is it enough to be concerned about or harm small children or babies? Now I don`t buy organic juice. Am I wrong?
PINSKY: No, no, no. It`s inorganic arsenic - see how confusing this all gets? This stuff shouldn`t even be reported in the press.
It`s inorganic arsenic. It is in minuscule amounts, and it`s an argument that people in public health should be having about what the cost benefit is of taking that tiny little bit out. It`s not going to hurt anybody. I - I promise this isn`t going to hurt anybody.
Take your juices. Worry - just, please, don`t worry about this.
Now, if you`re still worried, I`m going to give you some more facts about the arsenic in apple juice controversy. We`ll be back in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Coming up, actress Tracey Gold is here. She suffered and almost died from anorexia. But she is recovered and thriving. What you`re about to hear could help you or someone you know.
But first, there`s arsenic in apple juice. Do the manufacturers know it and should you be concerned about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): All right. As I was talking about earlier, a new study released by "Consumer Reports" finds there are elevated levels of arsenic in apple juice samples they tested. It turns out Dr. Oz was right, God bless him. Tonight, we`re asking if those levels can cause anything significant. Mehmet Oz, as I said, has been vocal about this for a few months.
Now, remember, he just went out and did a little study and then people attacked him, attacked him for having the temerity to report his study. That`s what scientific discourse is about, guys, is about people showing their data and then us conversing about it, and then, trying to figure out what the truth is.
It turns out there was some validity to what he was saying. I put a curse on everybody that was attacking him back then. That was so inappropriate. Many of them were my physician peers and other scientists. Shame on you. Shame on you. That is scientific discourse. We should have just engaged in dialogue, and now, look, we`ve got some new data.
The question is, though, does any of this mean anything, anyway? Let`s take a look back at September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MEHMET OZ, HOST, "THE DR. OZ SHOW": I think folks have a right to know that there`s arsenic in our apple juice. The amount that`s appropriate, we need to talk about. We kept being told that the arsenic levels aren`t what we`re saying they are. We had, one of our affiliates (ph), a Washington affiliate, send that on their own. We weren`t involved with it. Thirty more samples from that area, they found the exact same thing we found, 10 out of 30 had elevated levels of arsenic in their samples.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Here to discuss this, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety at "Consumer Reports," Gail Charnley, an environmental scientist with the Juice Products Association, and on the phone, we have pediatrician, Dr. Tasneem Batia.
Let`s take a look at some of the findings from the "Consumer Reports" study. They tested 88 samples of locally purchased apple and grape juices from stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and found that 10 percent of them had arsenic levels exceeding that -- the federal drinking water standards.
This was inorganic arsenic, which is the one that can hurt us, in massive levels! Not in tiny, barely detectable levels. So, the question I have to my panel, I`m going to start with Dr. Urvashi. Should consumers be freaking out about this? Come on, now.
URVASHI RANGAN, PH.D., DIRCTOR CONSUMER SAFETY, "CONSUMER REPORTS": Well, we didn`t release this story so consumers can freak out about it. We`re not talking about a glass of apple juice killing you. This isn`t about acute health risks. What it is about, however, is chronic exposures and chronic health risks like cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, all associated with arsenic exposure, all associated --
PINSKY: Hold on. I have to interrupt you. I have to interrupt you, because I`ve got viewers, people on my staff are freaking out. When you say bladder cancer and you start talking about skin cancers, the only actual association I`m aware of the skin cancer in very high levels. If somebody drank gallons of this apple juice their entire life, they still wouldn`t be consuming enough arsenic to be at the levels that are reported in just those skin cancer studies.
RANGAN: Skin cancer, first of all, is the least potent of all the cancers. When you look at lung and bladder cancer, the potency has been ratcheted up about 17 times according to an EPA risk draft assessment --
PINSKY: So how much -- what would the volume -- what would the volume of 15 parts per billion arsenic you would need to drink to increase significantly your risk, say, of bladder cancer. How much apple juice for how many years?
RANGAN: I would take a look at the finished study that`s been published on over 100,000 people exposed to inorganic arsenic in their water at far lower levels than 10 parts per billion, and you can see the increased risks of bladder cancer that have been associated. If you read through the EPA risk assessment, there`s not just one studies, there`s several human population studies.
It`s not a joke. And it`s also not something satanic (ph) over. You said it yourself, we need to have a reasonable scientific discussion about it. And that`s why we put out this investigation so that we can start to have a dialogue. There are no standards in juice. There ought to be standards in juice. We`re talking about what they should be.
PINSKY: You need to understand how viewers hear your words. They hear, I`m going to get cancer if I drink this product. The fact is, there`s no causational link that is certain between any amount of arsenic and cancer that I`m aware of. There`s a link with vascular disease, massive doses of arsenic and vascular disease.
There are concerns about arsenic and cancer over long, long, long periods of time. There`s no federal threshold for arsenic in juices or foods, but in the bottled water, 10 parts per billion is what`s considered appropriate, and that`s what they found in 10 percent of samples they tested, again, of the juices. They exceeded that 10 parts per billion.
The Juice Products Association put out a statement today defending those level saying, quote, "Juice is safe for all consumers all ages. The FDA has established a level of concern for inorganic arsenic in apple juice at 23 parts per billion." Now, none of the juice samples tested by "Consumer Reports" in apple exceeded the 23 parts per billion level for concern inorganic arsenic.
Although, Gale, I want to tell you that in a recent "L.A. Times" article, the grape juice was found to have a range of 5.9 to 24.7 parts per billion. Does that three parts per billion, 1.7 part per billion make a difference?
GAIL CHARNLEY PH.D., JUICE PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION: You know, it doesn`t, because the number that was reported was for total arsenic. The 23 parts per billion is for inorganic arsenic. Juice contains both organic and inorganic arsenic, and if you go back to the "consumer Reports" web page, they didn`t include this information in the article, but if you go back to their web page, you find that all of the samples tested test below the 23 part per billion safety standard.
PINSKY: So, listen, so what are we trying to accomplish here? We`re trying to make the healthiest possible environment for consumers, right? Isn`t that what we`re talking about here? So, the healthiest, absolutely ideal would be zero, of course. But what I`m trying to get out there for my viewers is that they need to give their kids their juices and go to bed tonight and not worry about this.
We are talking about something theoretical, that something is of concern to public health officials, that we need to do better with, but that -- we shouldn`t be reporting on this, even, in my opinion. "Consumer Reports" also released a recommendation for parents on how much juice children should have, OK? So, there are some healthy standards out there.
Let`s actually talk about what those are. They found that infants under six months should have no juice. Children six months to six years, four to six ounces a day, and older children, eight to 12 ounces per day. Dr. Batia, are those recommendations reasonable?
VOICE OF DR. TASNEEM BATIA, PEDIATRICIAN: I think those recommendations are reasonable, but I think the take-home message from the study is, first of all, yes, we found arsenic in our juice. The first question is, why is there arsenic in our juice? And the second question is, really, why is there slowly an accumulation of all kinds of chemicals and heavy metals in our juices, baby food, you know, formula, things like that that children are taking in on a regular basis?
So, I agree that I don`t want parents to panic. There`s no reason to panic over this, but I do have severe concerns. There are a host of pediatric conditions that we don`t have an explanation for. And as we try to evaluate the environmental burden, a lot of research is pointing towards that environmental burden as being the cause.
So, you know, yes, don`t panic, but I think the take-home message is, we need to be aware of what`s going on environmentally. We need to be aware of what we`re putting in our children and exposing our children to. And it`s the sum of their toxic burden that I think is leading to problems rather than maybe a little bit here and a little bit there, but we need to be aware of what all of that is. The World Health Organization back in April --
PINSKY: But here`s the problem. Here`s the problem. What the people who are viewing this show hear is, there are poisons in my children`s food. That`s what they hear.
BATIA: I think that`s partially true, I`m sorry. I mean, there needs to be a lot more regulation of our food --
PINSKY: Of what? Of what?
BATIA: -- of our safety standards in this country.
PINSKY: For instance, you mentioned heavy metals. Lead is a bigger concern, is it not?
BATIA: Lead is a bigger --
PINSKY: Shouldn`t we be more freaked about the lead right now? Forget about the arsenic and be more worried about lead?
BATIA: Well, again, it`s the total burden between all your heavy metals, your other chemicals that children are exposed to on a regular basis. I think that parents and pediatricians have to take a look at what the total burden is.
We can get freaked out about arsenic or you can get freaked out about mercury or lead, but again, I think those are isolated conversations is really the take-home point is that our children are being exposed to toxic elements, and we have to figure out a way to improve their health --
PINSKY: Have to go. Sorry, I`ve got to break. Thank you for this panel.
Next, she was a popular child star until anorexia nearly killed her. Today, she`s helping other victims fight for their lives. Tracey Gold is here with me in the studio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACEY GOLD, ACTRESS: I know it`s not easy and I know how hard it is, but I couldn`t -- I couldn`t be more proud.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to thank you so much. I`m so grateful. You`ve changed my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Tracey gold was a popular young Hollywood star, but her fame as an actress was eclipsed by a near-deadly eating disorder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Tracey Gold played one of America`s favorite TV daughters on the long-running 1980s sitcom, "Growing Pains," but despite her sunny on-screen disposition, she was waging a life and death battle with anorexia. At 11, she was diagnosed with the early stages of the disease. By the time Tracey was 22, she weighed about 80 pounds and was fighting for her life.
She was no longer one of TV`s "It" girls. Instead, she was outed by tabloids as the face of anorexia in Hollywood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Today, Tracey has turned this longtime struggle with anorexia into a lifetime series. It is called "Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold." Welcome, Tracey, my goodness. Thank you for joining us.
GOLD: Glad to be here.
PINSKY: It`s a very courageous thing to come up and talk about this.
GOLD: Thank you.
PINSKY: Common problem.
GOLD: It is.
PINSKY: I know we live in a time when obesity has eclipsed the conversation about eating disorders, but that`s just another eating disorder, as far as I`m concerned.
GOLD: Absolutely, I agree.
PINSKY: And so, how bad did it get for you?
GOLD: Oh, it got so bad. I mean, it interrupted my life. It changed my life. I mean, you know, I was on a hit TV series. Everything was going great for me, and it really put a stop to it. And I had to leave the show and go into a treatment center, and you know, I hit a horrible place.
PINSKY: Well, let`s explain to people how bad it gets. I mean, what was your weight, at the worst?
GOLD: Seventy-nine pounds.
PINSKY: Seventy-nine pounds.
GOLD: And I try not to talk about weight, but for this aspect --
PINSKY: This is for the purpose of the people putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
PINSKY: So, when people -- now, it`s not just about the weight, you`ve got to understand, because at that weight, ovaries shut down, estrogen levels start producing, bones start breaking down, brain doesn`t function normally, the vascular system can be stressed. There can be accelerated vascular disease.
Heart can be stressed. There can be rhythm disturbances and even sudden death. Did you have any major medical problems, renal failure --
GOLD: What happened was, I had gotten sick with bronchitis because I was so thin, and the producer basically said, we need you to gain some weight, and I went away on Christmas break with kind of good intentions, thinking I could do it, put a few pounds on, keep everyone quiet, couldn`t do it, lost more weight, came back to the set, was really sick.
They brought a doctor to the set, and I guess he did some work on me, you know, took some tests, and they sent me home. And then, we got a phone call from Warner Brothers saying, we can`t insure her. My blood pressure was way low, all of that.
PINSKY: So, for people at home, the really -- the part that`s confusing for people about eating disorders, here you are, to anybody looking at you, dying. But to you, you see something different.
GOLD: Well, you know, and I think, for me, I thought at that point was -- I felt so stuck. I felt so stuck. I didn`t know how to get out of it.
PINSKY: So you did kind of want to get better at that point?
GOLD: I didn`t want to let go of the disease, but I was fearful for the place I was in.
GOLD: So, I thought that I could maybe kind of balance it better.
PINSKY: Like the alcoholic trying to drink responsibly.
GOLD: Sure. Absolutely. And I thought that like, if I could just, you know, gain a few pounds and get everybody off my back, but I couldn`t. And I was so stuck.
PINSKY: Did you have that body dysmorphia where you saw yourself as overweight --
PINSKY: You don`t have that --
GOLD: No, no. I saw myself as thin, but I was -- every weight I hit, it became my new normal. So, I was afraid to, like, to change it. And I felt thin and I felt like there was such fear of changing the way I looked.
PINSKY: Now, do you think some of that, like the celebrity images we have. We have Miley Cyrus and Kelly Clarkson, they`re being criticized for their weight being too much, and then, everything that young girls see in the magazines, here we go --
GOLD: There they are. Yes.
PINSKY: Yes. The people in magazines, oh, they`re all stick figures and unrealistic images. Yes, those are normal healthy young adults.
GOLD: Yes. And that makes me so mad.
GOLD: I mean, I just get so angry and that you have to be a young girl, especially like Miley Cyrus, who`s so young, and she has to stand there and defend herself, because she doesn`t look like she did when she was 15, which the body doesn`t look like it.
PINSKY: And by the way, there`s an interesting note out there, statistically, which is while women all feel like they want to lose weight, men actually prefer women with a little bit of weight on them.
GOLD: Yes. And the funny thing is, I think women are always in competition with other women. I think it`s always what the woman says that resonates more with us.
PINSKY: You`re absolutely correct. Now, let`s talk about the series, the new show, "Lifetime Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold," will introduce us to a 28-year-old woman named Rifka (ph) at 5 feet 8 inches tall. She was half her ideal body weight and living on just 500 calories per day. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw the doctor, and he doesn`t think I`m that healthy, but I think that I`m a lot healthier than he thinks.
I have low bone density osteoporosis. I`ve lost a lot of my hair. I used to have really thick hair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`s your teeth?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not good. And I`ve had a lot of dental problems, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this weight, if she were left to her own devices and would continue losing weight, her life expectancy could be months to a few years.
PINSKY: It`s so sad, Tracey. Now, let`s talk a little bit about the solution.
PINSKY: How did you get better? What does she need to do? What do people anyone who knows someone with this kind of thing need to do?
GOLD: Well, first of all, I`m a huge believer that you need to go to an eating disorder specialist. I got sick by seeing a psychologist in the sense that I`m like -- something`s wrong with her, so I went and saw just a regular kind of psychologist --
PINSKY: Sometimes that makes things worse.
GOLD: It did.
GOLD: Because I was under the guise of a doctor who thought I was in treatment. And I would, you know --
PINSKY: You lie, distort, manipulate, and do your thing.
GOLD: And I could talk my way out of anything.
PINSKY: And by the way, you guys out there, addiction, same thing. You see addiction specialists. You don`t see people who just deal, you know, healthy neurotics, as we say.
PINSKY: You have an eating disorder, it needs a specialized treatment.
GOLD: So, that`s the first thing. Once I got with a doctor who really understood my disease, that helped. But it took a while, even after I started seeing him. And it really -- I had to get sick and tired of being sick.
PINSKY: You had a moment of clarity?
GOLD: I had a moment of clarity. I hit my lowest weight, and I was like, I could die from this. And I saw everybody else moving on with their lives, and I was still so stuck. And everybody has a certain amount of, like, in the beginning, oh, you`re sick, you`re sick, and there`s this look.
They get tired of that very quickly, and they want you to get better. And I wanted -- I also had something to fight for. I wanted to get married. I wanted to have children. I wanted to act again, and anorexia was standing in my way.
PINSKY: Now, let`s watch as Tracey talks to Rifka about getting better herself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: Why do you think you can do this now?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope I can do it. I can picture myself having a real life. I just want to be working, I want to have kids, I want a husband. I want to go out with my friends. Like, I`d love to be able to just have fun with my friends, hang out, but it`s hard for me to see people who are living lives, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: And Tracey, you and I talked about some of the inciting influence for eating disorders. We`ve been all the time, every day on this show, and we`re talking about trauma, sexual abuse, trauma things like that. Trauma of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect can set this kind of thing up, also enmeshment. This is one of the disorders where your parents are too involved, too close. Is that what happened to you?
GOLD: Yes. I mean, my mom and I were so close and were still close, but there are boundaries.
PINSKY: Right, but you before were completely responsible for her emotional life.
GOLD: Yes. We were like so enmeshed and almost like one. And I remember thinking, even as a young adult, like, I didn`t know how to form my own opinion, unless, I checked with her first. Like, it wasn`t validated until I found out if she approved of it. And I found my voice through my recovery in the sense of saying, it`s OK if somebody gets mad at me. I can deal with it. That used to make me so upset. And, you know, just trying to find my own voice.
PINSKY: Next, Tracey is going to talk about how she uses the memory of her lowest point to inspire others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: My name is Tracey Gold. I`m one of the lucky ones. I recovered. Twenty years ago, my obsession with food, my anorexia, nearly took my life. Now, my mission is to help others battle their own eating disorders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I`m back with Tracey Gold. She starred in the hit sitcom "Growing Pains" until a near deadly battle with an eating disorder cast her as the face of anorexia in Hollywood. Tracey is the host of a new lifetime series called "Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold." Watch as she talks to a young woman named Melissa who is seeking treatment for her eating disorder for the ninth time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: But this is what you do in treatment. You start to get better, and then, you find a reason to quit. And I think sometimes, Melissa, you can go into any place and you can find things that are problems. And you may have very valid points. You may have valid points, but I think for you, this is your shot.
I honestly believe that you`re in the right place. I believe that you can find recovery here, and I believe that Rebecca can help you. You have the power here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: There`s that resistance that is so common in eating disorders. But, you know, having been in her shoes, you do seem to get through to her a little bit. And isn`t it transformative for you to be of service to others?
GOLD: Oh, it`s so amazing. It does. It gives you so much strength and resolve in your recovery.
PINSKY: And you learn about your illness and your recovery. And that girl was probably a learning experience for you.
GOLD: Absolutely. And I think that, you know -- I mean, obviously, there were points in my eating disorder that I was resistant and I didn`t want to go to treatment. And what I saw with Melissa was, she always was like saying, you know, I can`t go, they kicked me out for 30 days of treatment because of insurance, which is a problem. But then all of a sudden, it was like a light bulb.
And it was like, no, that`s when they start to understand what`s really going on. And she starts to become vulnerable and kind of peel away the layers of like what`s going on with her. That`s when she bolts. And she just kept thinking, I`m going to be kicked out. I`m not going to be able to stay and making excuses. And I`m like --
PINSKY: It`s so funny, it`s so much like addiction. When you start giving them -- getting at the things that might no longer give them the excuse to use, they`re not interested, because ultimately, they want to use. And same thing with eating disorder, they don`t want to give up that eating disorder.
GOLD: Yes. And I basically said to her, I`m like, look it, you`re not being kicked out after 30 days. You`re going to get to stay here longer. So, just stick with it, try it, you have nothing to lose at this moment. You`ve already hit rock bottom.
PINSKY: Just open to it. Let`s dish (ph) for a second.
GOLD: Sure. Absolutely.
PINSKY: When you look out there in the landscape and see some of these women who are over -- too thin, are you worried about anybody? When you look out across the celebrity landscape today?
GOLD: Sure. I mean, you know, and I always --
PINSKY: I`m worried about what`s her name that just broke up with Ashton.
GOLD: Oh, yes. And this is what I wonder and this is where I kind of get into, like, is that anorexia or is that extreme weight loss because of stress.
PINSKY: Or could be that or just body dysmorphia. You don`t have to have anorexia --
GOLD: Right. And I think that Hollywood is so quick to put the label anorexia on so many women who either lose weight because of stress, dieting, whatever it may be their personal thing is that I always get nervous about, like, I think it trivializes the disease to just say, anorexia.
PINSKY: It`s a great point. I feel the same thing about addiction, too, and people say, oh, they`ve got a shopping addiction.
PINSKY: We use our terms very carefully. Thank you, Tracey. Good luck with the show.
GOLD: Thank you so much.
PINSKY: Again, few words before we go, anorexia and other conditions can be the result of trauma. As you heard Tracey say, she was enmeshed with her mom, that`s the other side, enmeshment eating disorder or trauma. One thing I just wanted to say is that I`ve spent a lot of time this week talking about -- and probably will continue talking about for the next couple of weeks, the sexual abuse scandals, the sexual traumas.
We`re going to try to sort of roll that out to people and help them understand it. But what people do, the kind of problems they manifest after they`ve been through something like that are variable. But most of the mental health problems we have these days are related to those sorts of traumas.
Enmeshment is something that`s sort of a little bit of an outlier that causes eating disorders. It`s not as common as the trauma which what we`re seeing --
PINSKY: "Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold" premieres December 2nd on lifetime at 10:00 p.m. Thanks for watching, guys.