Experts alert about presence of lead in baby food

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"The benefits of those nutritious foods far outweigh any risk", she said, especially in the context of where kids are most exposed to lead.

For the study, researchers looked at lead concentrations in 2,164 samples of baby food, and 10,064 samples of regular food.

Vogel noted that even small amounts of exposure can add up and that scientists believe there's "no safe levels of lead in blood".

Children are consuming more lead than is healthy, a new study by an environmental watchdog warns. In 89 percent of grape juice samples, lead was found.

The study, summarized here, "analyzed 11 years of data from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and found that food, and baby food in particular, is a meaningful-and surprising-source of lead".

Image credit NBC Miami
Image credit NBC Miami

The group also found that more baby food versions of apple and grape juice and carrots had detectable lead than the "regular" versions. An environmental group has reportedly found lead in at least 20 percent of baby food, according to reports. He said that nearly 70 percent of kids are exposed to lead due to the level of this metal in foods. The Environmental Defense food has drawn attention to how unsafe lead can be for people; however, they focused on baby food, given the fragile immune system of toddlers.

To combat lead being found in food, the EDF recommends the FDA ensures lead is not added to food products, announce that the worldwide standards for fruit juice are inadequate, update the limits and food safety guidelines on lead risks to better protect children, and encourage manufacturers to reduce lead levels in food.

EDF's report lists several recommendations for the FDA, including updating its current limits and food safety guidelines as well as making absolutely clear that the worldwide standards for fruit juice "are inadequate". In a bid to make parents control their children's juice intake, they suggested that children below the age of 1 should not take juices. CDC reiterated that foods rich in calcium, vitamin C, and iron could help stop lead absorption.

The levels in the foods were below what the FDA considers alarming, and the dose that a child gets depends on their overall diet and what other exposures they have. Researchers could determine how frequently contamination occurred, but not at what levels. "FDA and food manufacturers can and must take action to reduce lead levels in food". Around 20 percent of the baby samples contained lead, while only 14 percent of the non-baby food samples had the substance. Baby food is also processed more so there's a possibility that processing could play a role.

Pediatrician Jennifer Lowry, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Environmental Health, stressed that the onus to change their standards regarding lead was on the FDA and industry.


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