Lead detected in 20 percent of baby food samples

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"Only a slight difference in IQ is enough to sometimes cause difficulty in school and learning".

The Environmental Defense Fund doesn't say that parents should necessarily avoid certain products, but they do advise parents to talk to their doctors about risks of lead exposure.

"Lead was detected in 20 percent of baby food samples compared to 14 percent for other food", according to the Environmental Defense Fund study, NBC News reported. In March of this year, the EDF submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get that brand-level data from the agency. This included more than 12,200 samples of general food as well as baby food.

Fruit juices: 89 percent of grape juice samples contained detectable levels of lead, while the same was true for 67 percent of mixed fruit juices, 55 percent of apple juices, and 45 percent of pear juices.

But the researchers argue that government standards don't reflect current scientific research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no known safe level of lead for anyone to eat, drink or breathe in.

"Unfortunately, our federal agencies have been slow to respond to that", Lowry said.

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". "They also work to ensure that the presence of naturally occurring minerals is minimized to the greatest extent possible to ensure the safety of their products for all consumers". What is most worrying about this is the fact that researchers can't tell where the lead comes from. Pesticides are chemicals used to thwart insects and are often considered toxic.

The FDA doesn't have any firm regulations on lead in other foods but limits lead in grape juices to 50 ppb. Yet the Environmental Protection Agency this year has estimated that more than five percent of United States children (more than a million) get more than the FDA's recommended limit of lead from their diet.

Neltner said the findings don't mean parents should stop feeding their children packaged baby food, but he suggested they consult with pediatricians and, with the food brands they use, contact companies to ask about their testing processes for lead.

The reasons for this isn't clear, Neltner said. "But I think we can make a significant dent in that $27 billion, give these kids the IQ points back and benefit society overall".

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