etvfutures.com
etvfutures.com June 26, 2017


Environmental watchdog group warns of lead in baby food

18 June 2017, 12:31 | Lena Norman

Lovell '15 Coauthored Environmental Defense Fund Report on Lead Levels

Not Released

The group looked at data from more than 12,200 food samples that were analyzed from 2003 to 2013 as part of the Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study, which tracks nutrients, pesticides and metals. Twenty percent of the samples designated by the FDA as baby food had detectable levels of lead in them, compared to 14 percent for regular foods.

The worst culprits for lead included grape juice for babies (89% of samples had lead); apple juice (55%); and sweet potatoes (86%).

Cookies: 64 percent of Arrowroot cookies and 47 percent of teething biscuits contain lead.

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

You think baby food available in the market is good for your child?

"We couldn't find any study to find where this lead was coming from", he said.

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.

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns parents that there's no such thing as a "safe level of lead" in kids' blood, and one of its child health programs is focused specifically on reducing childhood lead exposure.

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.

But food is a source of lead exposure most of us probably aren't thinking about. As with the lead data, increases in these numbers alert organizations to potential problems, but they don't give enough indication to pinpoint the exact nature of the problem.

What the source of lead might be in the baby food is unclear. Anyway, changed must be applied immediately, since any exposure to lead is unsafe for children. Baby food is also processed more so there's a possibility that processing could play a role.

Neltner said the findings don't mean parents should stop feeding their children packaged baby food, but he suggested they consult with pediatricians and, with the food brands they use, contact companies to ask about their testing processes for lead. However, a May 2017 FDA fact sheet on lead in foods states that a Toxic Elements Working Group will be developing a risk-based approach.

According to the FDA, lead makes its way into food through contaminated soil, but Neltner suspects that processing may also play a role.



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