Environment advocacy group reports 'surprising' amount of lead in baby food

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But a report published Thursday by the Environmental Defense Fund raises questions about another, surprising possibility: food.

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".

"That included fruit juices; baby fruit juices; root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and some categories of cookies, like arrowroot biscuits and teething cookies", said Sarah Vogel from the Environmental Defense Fund. While the study is American, numerous same brands of baby food can be found in Canada.

To combat lead being found in food, the EDF recommends the FDA ensures lead is not added to food products, announce that the worldwide standards for fruit juice are inadequate, update the limits and food safety guidelines on lead risks to better protect children, and encourage manufacturers to reduce lead levels in food.

The FDA has monitored levels of lead in foods for decades through the Total Diet Study (TDS), the Agency's ongoing market basket survey in which about 280 core foods (TDS foods) in the US food supply are collected, prepared as for consumption, and analyzed to determine levels of various contaminants and nutrients in those foods. Unsafe levels of lead in a child's blood can also affect brain development. In March of this year, the EDF submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get that brand-level data from the agency. He said that nearly 70 percent of kids are exposed to lead due to the level of this metal in foods. Now there's evidence of another, more minor source of lead exposure in some food produced. CDC reiterated that foods rich in calcium, vitamin C, and iron could help stop lead absorption. The FDA sets limits for lead in food, but the current limits are based on levels that can be reliably measured and are considered achievable after manufacturing processes.

According to the EDF's report, at least one sample in 52 of the 57 types of baby food it analyzed had detectable levels of lead. The major source of lead exposure in USA children is paint, in the forms of paint chips and dust from aging housing.

It is critical for parents to avoid those particular foods that might threaten the welfare of their children. Additionally, the EDF suggests manufacturers conduct more frequent tests during the processing of foods. The food was collected from a different city each year and combined into composite samples - for example all the grape juice was poured into one sample. For comparison, we are talking about an average increase of 0.46 μg/dL blood lead levels from dietary exposure alone.

A pediatrician and Chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Environmental Health, Jennifer Lowry, said that the obligation lies on FDA to review their standards and make it clear that there is no healthy lead level.