It's not clear how lead is showing up in baby food. Scientists say there is no safe level of lead, and lead in baby food can elevate the level of lead in the bloodstream, potentially leading to developmental problems or other health issues down the road. Bole was not involved in the report.
According to the study, children with elevated lead levels were not being tested or diagnosed. The study does not mention the brand of each sample. At very high levels, lead can kill developing brain cells or be fatal.
Therefore, they considered it was pertinent to analyze the data of the FDA's Total Diet Study for specific sources of exposure to lead for babies and kids.
Taking 11 years of data from the FDA, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) performed the analysis. His further analysis of the EPA report was that food is the major source of lead exposure in two-thirds of toddlers.
The findings come from data collected in the FDA's annual survey of foods, called the Total Diet Survey, which the agency has run since the 1970s. Of 2,164 baby food samples, 20 percent contained the toxic metal, and it was most commonly found in grape and apple fruit juices, sweet potatoes, carrots and cookies like teething biscuits. Researchers could determine how frequently contamination occurred, but not at what levels.
The FDA says the administration set a maximum daily lead intake of six micrograms, which is being reviewed, saying on its website, "lead is in food because it is in the environment and lead can not simply be removed from food".
For now, the FDA requires bottled water to have no more than five parts-per-billion of lead, mainly because that "was the lowest amount FDA could reliably measure in 1995, and only four percent of the water tested exceeded the limit", the EDF reports. More research is certainly needed.
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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. "While paint and drinking water are the greatest sources of lead in most children living in older homes, all children get some lead from their diet".
That said, the FDA's food standards were set in 1993. For comparison, we are talking about an average increase of 0.46 μg/dL blood lead levels from dietary exposure alone.
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. "There are good reasons to limit juice other than this particular report", Bole said. "Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies".
Lead often makes its way into food from contaminated soil; however, the researchers aren't sure why higher levels were food in baby food compared to general food samples.
In 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its recommendation on children's blood lead levels, stating that there is no safe level.
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 global standards for fruit juice "are inadequate".
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