Report finds lead in baby food

Not Released

Lovell '15 Coauthored Environmental Defense Fund Report on Lead Levels

Babies exposed to lead may be born prematurely.

Baby food versions of apple and grape juices, as well as carrots, had more samples with detectable levels of lead than the regular versions, according to the report.

Pediatricians who weren't involved in the study noted that lead-based paint and lead-contaminated water are by far the main sources of lead affecting US children.

While the amount of lead found in most samples was tiny, Sarah Vogel, vice president for health at the Environmental Defense Fund, said the results were "concerning" especially for children younger than 6. These included "decreased academic achievement, IQ, and specific cognitive measures; increased incidence of attention-related behaviors and problem behaviors".

The nonprofit group looked at 11 years of data collected by the Food And Drug Administration as part of the agency's Total Diet Study.

A startling new report finds detectable levels of lead in baby food, a finding that may concern parents.

At least one sample in 52 of the 57 types of food evaluated had detectable lead and eight types of baby food were found to contain lead in 40 per cent of their samples as well.

At very high levels, lead can kill developing brain cells or be fatal. What is most worrying about this is the fact that researchers can't tell where the lead comes from. The Academy of Pediatrics suggests drinking water in schools contain no more than one ppb.

There is no known safe level of lead in blood, the study explained.

The FDA doesn't have any firm regulations on lead in other foods but limits lead in grape juices to 50 ppb.

In all, the EDF review surmised some 1 million children consume amounts of lead that are above the FDA's "safe" limit.

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".

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

In response to a request for comment, Gerber said that samples of its baby foods and juices "consistently fall well within the available guidance levels and meet our own strict standards". "Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies". 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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