Lead Found in 20% of Baby Food Including Juices: Environmental Group

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Lead Found in 20% of Baby Food Including Juices: Environmental Group

A report found detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of baby food samples compared to other foods.

The EDF analyzed FDA data between 2003 and 2013 from the federal agency's "Total Diet Study", which tracks metals, pesticides and nutrients in food.

"Eight types of baby foods had detectable lead in more than 40 percent of samples". Of the 57 categories, 52 contained at least one food sample that tested positive for lead. The food was collected from a different city each year and combined into composite samples - for example all the grape juice was poured into one sample.

We went back to the same FDA data EDF used, looked at the measured amounts of lead, and then plotted the percentage of tested baby food products with lead concentrations above certain amounts.

Baby foods contain more lead than regular foods.

While no food contained an amount of lead that was over the allowed limits, children who ate multiple foods with lead in them are still at risk, Study author Tom Neltner, Chemicals Policy Director at EDF, said.

In fact, too much lead has been linked to everything from hearing loss to behavioral and emotional disorders in kids, which is exactly why the report from the EDF is raising major concerns.

Lead was found in just 4 percent of cereals.

This revised definition reflects findings from a 2012 National Toxicology Program Report that concluded a wide range of adverse health effects are associated with blood lead levels less than 5 μg/dL.

The Food and Drug Administration has a guidance level for lead of 100 parts per billion for candy and dried fruit and 50 parts per billion for fruit juices.

The FDA has indicated that it is re-evaluating its standards for lead in foods.

This type of plot gives a ballpark idea of the percentage of the baby food being sold in the US for certain levels of lead. Anyway, changed must be applied immediately, since any exposure to lead is risky for children. "Avoiding all sources of exposure of lead poisoning is incredibly important ... but the last thing I would want is for a parent to restrict their child's diet or limit their intake of healthy food groups".

Contamination also could happen during processing from lead leaching from older brass, bronze, plastic or coated food handling equipment that contains lead; or from deteriorated lead paint in the building.

That said, the FDA's food standards were set in 1993.

Adults are also affected by lead consumption - it's been linked to high blood pressure and kidney damage, according to the World Health Organization.

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