20% of baby food may contain lead, says environmental agency

EnlargeGetty | Media for Medical

EnlargeGetty | Media for Medical

That means there's no brand information for what products contain lead, but it does show that there's a widespread issue in the US for trace amounts of lead in food.

A new report by the Environmental Defense Fund indicates that low levels of lead contaminate almost all kinds of baby food.

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

"Lead can have a number of effects on children and it's especially harmful during critical windows of development", said Dr Aparna Bole, pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, who was not involved with the report, CNN reported.

Experts warn that the development and safety of babies might be threatened because of the presence of lead in 20 percent of baby food.

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The 50-year-old advocacy group analyzed data from the US Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study, which collects food samples from across the county yearly, testing them for nutrients and contaminants, USA Today reports.

Lead was found in just 4 percent of cereals.

In addition to our role in monitoring the safety of foods on the US market and taking regulatory action when warranted, the FDA participates with an worldwide body, Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex), to review the scientific data concerning lead and other contaminant levels in foods.

The Environmental Defense Fund report was ultimately directed at the food industry and FDA in the hopes of getting limits and standards updated.

She added that pediatricians recommend limiting or eliminating fruit juices from children's diets, anyway, for nutritional reasons.

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According to the findings, a lot of products for babies have more lead than the regular versions.

Recall that the 2012 National Toxicology Program Report cited a wide range of measurable health effects occurring with blood lead levels less than 5 μg/dL. Carrots for babies, on the other hand, had three more chances of having lead than the regular versions.

Researchers had data from 2,164 baby food samples, which included 57 different types. Arrowroot cookies (64 percent of 44 samples) and teething biscuits (4 percent of 43 samples) were most often found positive. "Avoiding all sources of exposure of lead poisoning is incredibly important ... but the last thing I would want is for a parent to restrict their child's diet or limit their intake of healthy food groups".

Neltner said that though the soil has definitely something to do with this, there are other factors.

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".

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