Lead detected in 20% of baby food samples

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This included more than 12,200 samples of general food as well as baby food.

The EDF also found that the baby food versions of apple and grape juice and carrots had detectable lead more often than their regular versions.

The environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on June 15 released a study about dietary lead exposure, with a focus on food intended for babies and young children.

Don't think that low levels of lead aren't a big deal, the EDF says, arguing that even low levels of the deadly metal can cause tremendous harm in children nationwide.

The FDA is continuing to work with industry to further limit the amount of lead in foods to the greatest extent feasible, especially in foods frequently consumed by children. Lead can undermine the cognitive development of infants, as well, it can drive to attention issues and problems in the immune and cardiovascular systems.

"Lead was detected in 20 percent of baby food samples compared to 14 percent for other food", according to the Environmental Defense Fund study, NBC News reported. For example, 89 percent of the baby food grape juice samples had detectable levels of lead in them. We established an Import Alert for certain dried fruits found to contain lead above 100 ppb.

The FDA does not identify the brands that were tested or the stores where they were purchased. One suggestion to the FDA is that they update their limits and food safety guidance. Unsafe levels of lead in a child's blood can also affect brain development.

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It's not clear how lead is showing up in baby food. Lead has no place in a child's diet. 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.

The researchers, though, noted that not all lead in soil is naturally occurring. For comparison, we are talking about an average increase of 0.46 μg/dL blood lead levels from dietary exposure alone.

This type of plot gives a ballpark idea of the percentage of the baby food being sold in the USA for certain levels of lead.

Teething biscuits and Arrowroot cookies were also found to contain traces of lead, with 64% of the cookie samples testing positive. 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.

"In the meantime, parents of young children should consult with their child's pediatrician to learn about all the ways to reduce lead exposure", the report advised.

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".