Therefore, it is critical for people to know exactly what they are feeding their kids. Scientists say there is no safe level of lead, and lead in baby food can elevate the level of lead in the bloodstream, potentially leading to developmental problems or other health issues down the road. "The largest burden that we often think about is neurocognitive that can occur even at low levels of lead exposure". The database included 57 kinds of baby food and formula, tested from 2003 to 2013. The study does not mention the brand of each sample. We also set an allowable level for lead in bottled water (5 ppb) at the time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established public drinking water lead requirements.
Samantha Lovell '15, a policy major from Colby's Environmental Studies Program, coauthored a study by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on lead levels in food supply. This maximum was adopted by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993.
Baby food versions of apple and grape juices, as well as carrots, had more samples with detectable levels of lead than the regular versions, according to the report. Overall, only 14 percent of adult foods tested contained lead.
Researchers analyzed eleven years of federal data, tested 2,164 baby food samples and found lead in roughly 20 percent of them. Though the levels in the baby food were generally below what the FDA considers unsafe, the agency's standards are decades old. 55 percent of apple juices for babies had lead, while the regular apple juices had 25 percent chances of being toxic due to lead. As a comparison, the non-baby versions contain significantly less lead.
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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.
"Food and beverage companies seek to adhere to strict manufacturing practices to assure that lead is never added during the cultivation or processing of foods", the statement reads.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the guide on children and lead intake - this was in 2012.
That said, the FDA has released a response to the report, noting the agency is "reevaluating the analytical methods it uses for determining when it should take action with respect to measured levels of lead in particular foods, including those consumed by infants and toddlers". The major source of lead exposure in USA children is paint, in the forms of paint chips and dust from aging housing. The EDF recommends that the FDA and manufacturers step up their game to reduce lead in products, and parents should consult with their pediatricians to figure out strategies to limit exposure.