"While we evaluated all types of food collected by FDA, we focused on types of baby food because infants are most vulnerable to lead", the report states. Certain amount of lead was also found in cookies like teething biscuits, according to CNN reports. Numerous samples tested by FDA are already either lead-free (according to the limits of detection in the analyses used) or have low lead content. The latest research suggests that there is no safe level of lead for children.
Lead was found in fruit juices showing up in 89 percent of grape juice samples. In children, even very low blood lead levels can cause behavioral problems and lower IQ. The Environmental Defense food has drawn attention to how unsafe lead can be for people; however, they focused on baby food, given the fragile immune system of toddlers.
There is lead in almost everything, because it is a naturally occurring element, but there was more in baby food than expected.
Twenty percent of 2,164 baby foods sampled between 2003 and 2013 by the Food and Drug Administration tested positive for lead, according to an analysis released Thursday by the nonprofit advocacy group, the Environmental Defense Fund. 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.
None of the lead levels exceeded current government safety standards, although the researchers contend that government standards don't exactly adhere to scientific research. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no known safe level of lead for anyone to eat, drink or breathe in.
"Unfortunately, our federal agencies have been slow to respond to that", Lowry said. "We think food manufacturers should have a good idea where it is getting into the food". Companies need to investigate, he said.
"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 FDA's goal is to protect human health by ensuring that consumer exposure is limited to the greatest extent feasible". Researchers could determine how frequently contamination occurred, but not at what levels. Pesticides are chemicals used to thwart insects and are often considered toxic. Though the levels in the baby food were generally below what the FDA considers unsafe, the agency's standards are decades old.
"Avoiding all sources of exposure to 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" said Bole.
The reasons for this isn't clear, Neltner said.