There's Lead in 20 Percent of Store-Bought Baby Food, Study Finds

Lovell '15 Coauthored Environmental Defense Fund Report on Lead Levels

The Environmental Defense Fund analyzed publicly available data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study, which each year collects samples of food from around the country and tests it for a host of nutrients and contaminants, including lead.

The analysis found that at least one sample in 52 of the 57 types of baby food had detectable levels of lead. "The FDA estimates it's all from the soil, but that wouldn't explain why it was more commonly found in baby food, baby grape juice and baby apple juice". "The largest burden that we often think about is neurocognitive that can occur even at low levels of lead exposure".

Neltner said he's glad the FDA is working on the issue but wants them to "get it done".

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There's no safe level of lead, according to the EDF, and yet about 500,000 children have elevated blood lead levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The organization's primary focus was on the baby foods because of how detrimental lead can be to child development. FDA also says that elements of lead in the food we eat also come from the surroundings. Though the lead levels of these products are not that high, they can certainly be harmful. These worldwide discussions can lead to recommendations for standards individual countries may adopt. A new report suggests food - particularly baby food - could be a problem, too. 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.

She added that pediatricians recommend limiting or eliminating fruit juices from children's diets, anyway, for nutritional reasons. The major source of lead exposure in United States children is paint, in the forms of paint chips and dust from aging housing.

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This revised definition reflects findings from a 2012 National Toxicology Program Report that concluded a wide range of adverse health effects are associated with blood lead levels less than 5 μg/dL. One suggestion to the FDA is that they update their limits and food safety guidance. But the concern is how much a child may consume over time.

"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. It should be possible to expand the number of products that fit into these categories, simply by understanding what some companies do right and replicating it.

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