Wednesday, 13 December, 2017

Lead Found In 20 Percent Of Baby Food Samples, Report Concludes

EnlargeGetty | Media for Medical EnlargeGetty | Media for Medical
Sammy Stanley | 19 June, 2017, 01:42

The Environmental Defense Fund is pushing for manufacturers to voluntarily put a limit of 1 ppb of lead in baby food and children's food, and is recommending that companies test their products for frequently to ensure that lead levels remain low. Out of the 2,164 samples, 86% of sweet potatoes, about 89% of grape juice, and 47% of teething biscuits proved to contain evident levels of leads. They analyzed 22164 samples, which were not classified by brand.

FDA has set guidance levels of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for candy and dried fruit and 50 ppb for fruit juices.

Baby food was the main focus of the study because lead consumption can be detrimental to development. Even low blood lead levels can harm child development and behavior.

Lower IQs caused by lead exposure translate into a total of $27 billion per year in lost lifetime earnings nationwide, the Environmental Defense Fund calculates in its report.

In addition to our role in monitoring the safety of foods on the USA market and taking regulatory action when warranted, the FDA participates with an global body, Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), to review the scientific data concerning lead and other contaminant levels in foods. Overall, only 14 percent of adult foods tested contained lead. Soil contamination is a known source of lead in food, but the EDF report also raised the possibility of contamination occurring via the use of lead-containing materials during food processing.

Caregivers can contact baby food brands and ask that their products be lead-free.

"Lead is in food because it is in the environment and lead can not simply be removed from food", according to FDA.org.

The Environmental Defense Fund found the lead through an analysis of 11 years of federal data. The major source of lead exposure in U.S. children is paint, in the forms of paint chips and dust from aging housing. "Baby food versions of apple and grape juices and carrots had more samples with detectable lead than the regular versions", the group said. She further said the standards of FDA are outdated, and they're yet to update in the past decades.

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

"I can't explain it other than I assume baby food is processed more", Neltner said. Carrots for babies, on the other hand, had three more chances of having lead than the regular versions.

For simplicity, the EDF sorted the baby foods into eight categories: root vegetables; non-root vegetables; fruits including juices; cereal; infant formula; prepared meals; crackers and cookies; and desserts. The EDF recommends that the FDA and manufacturers step up their game to reduce lead in products, and parents should consult with their pediatricians to figure out strategies to limit exposure.

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