Analysis Finds Lead in 20% of Baby Food Samples

Analysis Finds Lead in 20% of Baby Food Samples

Analysis Finds Lead in 20% of Baby Food Samples

Now there's evidence of another, more minor source of lead exposure in some food produced.

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which analysed 11 years of federal data, found detectable levels of lead in 20 per cent of 2,164 baby food samples. The biggest lead culprits were fruit juices, such as grape and apple; root vegetables, including sweet potatoes and carrots; and treats such as Arrowroot cookies and teething biscuits.

Pediatricians who weren't involved in the study noted that lead-based paint and lead-contaminated water are by far the main sources of lead affecting USA children. Numerous samples tested by FDA are already either lead-free (according to the limits of detection in the analyses used) or have low lead content. Grape juice most often contained lead, with 89% of samples showing detectable levels. These included "decreased academic achievement, IQ, and specific cognitive measures; increased incidence of attention-related behaviors and problem behaviors".

The group looked at data from more than 12,200 food samples that were analyzed from 2003 to 2013 as part of the Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study, which tracks nutrients, pesticides and metals.

At least one sample in 52 of the 57 types of food evaluated had detectable lead and eight types of baby food were found to contain lead in 40 per cent of their samples as well.

But food is a source of lead exposure most of us probably aren't thinking about. Environmental Protection Agency. Children six years old and younger are especially at risk to the negative health effects of lead exposure, such as behavioral problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and anemia. The allowable level for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb.

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Adults are also affected by lead consumption - it's been linked to high blood pressure and kidney damage, according to the World Health Organization. Baby food is also processed more so there's a possibility that processing could play a role.

That said, the FDA has released a response to the report, noting the agency is "reevaluating the analytical methods it uses for determining when it should take action with respect to measured levels of lead in particular foods, including those consumed by infants and toddlers".

In 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendation on children's blood lead levels, stating that there is no safe level.

Meanwhile, Neltner said, parents should talk with their child's pediatrician about ways to reduce lead exposure, and should contact makers of their favorite food brands to ask whether the company regularly tests for lead and ensures that levels remain below 1 ppb.

But she said she wouldn't want parents to avoid root vegetables altogether.

Baby foods contain more lead than regular foods.

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