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

The top one is grape juice, with 89 percent of its baby version containing lead. It was also in root vegetables like carrots and showed up in 86 percent of sweet potatoes samples. The study found the lead through an analysis of 11 years of federal data.

Lead can cause problems with attention and behavior, cognitive development, the cardiovascular system and immune system, Bole said. Therefore, it is critical for people to know exactly what they are feeding their kids.

Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director for the non-profit, says, "No child gets high levels of lead from food alone".

In all, the EDF review surmised some 1 million children consume amounts of lead that are above the FDA's "safe" limit. There are certain types of baby food that more commonly contained lead. The study does not mention the brand of each sample.

According to a fact sheet by FDA, crops become lead-inevitable if the lead is in the soil because the plants will absorb them while they grow. This maximum was adopted by the Food and Drug Administration in 1993.

There was also more lead found in apple juice and grape juice that was aimed at babies, compared to those juices for adults.

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Lead was found in just 4 percent of cereals. Though the levels in the baby food were generally below what the FDA considers unsafe, the agency's standards are decades old. "Baby food versions of apple and grape juices and carrots had more samples with detectable lead than the regular versions", the group said. 55 percent of apple juices for babies had lead, while the regular apple juices had 25 percent chances of being toxic due to lead.

"In many American communities, the most significant route of lead exposure is from paint and soil", Bole said.

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

"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.

Children are consuming more lead than is healthy, a new study by an environmental watchdog warns. She called for urgent action by policymakers to look more closely at the issue of lead in food. But the concern is how much a child may consume over time. Protecting children's ability to learn and thrive demands that we find effective ways to reduce exposures to lead from all sources. Parents should also have their children tested for lead, tell them to wash their hands often - especially before eating and sleeping, clean their toys and feed them healthy snacks such as yogurt, cheese slices and whole grain crackers, World Health Organization advises.

EDF also encouraged parents to "check with their favorite brands" and ask companies whether they regularly test for lead and if they guarantee less than 1 ppb of lead in the products they sell.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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