Lead detected in baby food samples

Report finds lead in baby food

Reports state that the particular metal, which could be deadly, was most commonly found in fruit juices like apple and grape, and root vegetables like sweet potatoes and carrots.

The environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on June 15 released a study about dietary lead exposure, with a focus on food intended for babies and young children. It affects one's ability to pay attention, and cause problems with the immune system and cardiovascular systems. Children face the highest risks from blood lead levels, including behavioral problems and lower IQs as they grow.

Researchers analyzed eleven years of federal data, tested 2,164 baby food samples and found lead in roughly 20 percent of them.

Tom Neltner, the group's chemicals policy director, said the possibilities could include lead in soil and dust or in the processing for plastics used as containers.

Over 2,000 baby food samples were collected by the FDA between 2003 and 2013. Eight types of baby food had lead in more than 40 percent of samples. The FDA data also lacked brand information. It's also unclear why baby foods would have more lead than adult foods and why some products within a food category could test negative while others had relatively high amounts. What is most worrying about this is the fact that researchers can't tell where the lead comes from.

The FDA doesn't have any firm regulations on lead in other foods but limits lead in grape juices to 50 ppb. None of the levels of lead found in the baby foods that were tested exceeded the allowable levels.

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"The FDA is continuing to work with industry to further limit the amount of lead in foods to the greatest extent feasible, especially in foods frequently consumed by children", read an agency statement in response to the report. She called for urgent action by policymakers to look more closely at the issue of lead in food.

The reasons for this isn't clear, Neltner said.

"In many American communities, the most significant route of lead exposure is from paint and soil", Bole said.

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. Bole was not involved in the report. "Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies".

Baby foods contain more lead than regular foods. And samples of Gerber juices were all below the EPA standard for drinking water. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reduced the definition of elevated blood levels in children from 10 to 5 μg/dL.

The Environmental Defense Fund report was ultimately directed at the food industry and FDA in the hopes of getting limits and standards updated.

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