Lead Found to Be Common in Baby Foods

We all know that sources of lead exposure like peeling paint and contaminated drinking water should be avoided by all, especially children. Lead causes problems with attention and behavior, cognitive development, the cardiovascular system, and immune system. Even low levels can cause damage. A new report finds that baby food may be a problem also.

Analyzing 11 years of data, detectable levels of lead were found in 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples. Lead was found mostly in grape juice, apple juice, root vegetables, and cookies. The brands of the samples studied were not identified. While lead levels were rather low, the CDC says that there is no “safe” lead level in children.

The EPA estimates that over five percent of children eat more than 6 micrograms of lead each day. Food is the major source of lead exposure in two-thirds of toddlers. In the report, 89 percent of baby grape juice had lead, 55 percent of apple juices, as well as 44 percent of carrots. Lead gets into food through contaminated soil, but processing also may play a role.

The FDA has set approved lead levels to 100 parts per billion (ppb) for candy and dried fruit and 50 ppb for fruit juices. Bottled water has an allowed level of 5 ppb. In 2012, Consumer Reports found a quarter of apple and grape juice samples had lead levels higher than the bottled water limit. The FDA is working with the food industry to further limit lead in food, especially food for children.

The study is not recommending parents avoid certain foods or brands, but consult their pediatrician. Limiting a child’s diet or limiting healthy food intake is not a good thing. However, limiting or eliminating fruit juices is recommended for other nutritional reasons. Root vegetables shouldn’t be avoided, as the benefits of these foods outweigh any risk.
Zuraw, Lydia. “Lead Detected In 20% Of Baby Food Samples, Surprising Even Researchers.” News. Kaiser Health News, 15 Jun 2017. Web. 18 Jun 2017.

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