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Is lead in the USA food supply decreasing our IQ?

Is lead in the USA food supply decreasing our IQ?

Low levels of lead contaminate numerous foods Americans eat, including almost all categories of baby food, a report by the Environmental Defense Fund shows.

"Eight types of baby foods had detectable lead in more than 40 percent of samples. Baby food versions of apple and grape juices and carrots had more samples with detectable lead than the regular versions", the report says.

Root vegetables: 86 percent of packaged baby food sweet potatoes and 43 percent of baby food carrots contained lead.

The report however did not identify the samples by brands and said that the level of lead present in these food products are considered to be relatively low.

"The root vegetables category had the highest rate of lead detection, with lead found in 65 percent of the composite samples".

The report found 20% of the 2,164 baby food samples were positive for lead, compared with 14% of the 10,064 regular food samples.

"We know parents may be concerned about a recent report on lead in foods and want to reassure them that Gerber foods and juices are safe", the statement read. Babies exposed to lead may be born prematurely.

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

This story was updated on June 16 to correct the date of CDC recommendations and also to clarify that the 2017 EPA dietary lead exposure estimate is based on data from 2007-2013. Then, it is followed by mixed fruits with 67 percent, apples with 55 percent, and pears with 45 percent.

Lead is highly toxic and can harm or kill developing brain cells in babies.

Lead was found in just 4 percent of cereals.

That said, the FDA's food standards were set in 1993.

The Environmental Defense Fund report notes that more research on the sources of contamination is needed.

The Food and Drug Administration has a guidance level for lead of 100 parts per billion for candy and dried fruit and 50 parts per billion for fruit juices. As a comparison, the non-baby versions contain significantly less lead. 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.

Meanwhile, Neltner said, parents should talk with their child's pediatrician about ways to reduce lead exposure, and should contact makers of their favorite food brands to ask whether the company regularly tests for lead and ensures that levels remain below 1 ppb. Eighteen percent of the baby food samples tested above 5 ppb lead, which is the amount the FDA allows in drinking water.


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