Lead detected In 20% of baby food samples

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Caregivers can contact baby food brands and ask that their products be lead-free.

A new report has found that 20% of baby food contains traces of lead - a higher amount than what is found in all other foods.

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

There is a 20% chance there is lead in food and juice geared toward children.

The FDA is continuing to work with industry to further limit the amount of lead in foods to the greatest extent feasible, especially in foods frequently consumed by children. Grape juice most often contained lead, with 89% of samples showing detectable levels. Lead can undermine the cognitive development of infants, as well, it can drive to attention issues and problems in the immune and cardiovascular systems.

The report from the nonprofit group was an outcome of a study on the data from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2003 - 2013.

We also found that the baby food versions of apple and grape juice and of carrots had samples with detectable lead more often than the regular versions. Eight types of baby food had lead in more than 40 percent of samples. Specifically, we examined potential IQ loss and the percentage of samples with high lead concentrations. The FDA data also lacked brand information.

FDA has set guidance levels of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for candy and dried fruit and 50 ppb for fruit juices.

EDF's report lists several recommendations for the FDA, including updating its current limits and food safety guidelines as well as making absolutely clear that the global standards for fruit juice "are inadequate". FDA also says that elements of lead in the food we eat also come from the surroundings.

It's not clear how lead is showing up in baby food. But the concern is how much a child may consume over time. Those standards suggest that children get no more than six micrograms of lead per day, based on children having no more than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood.

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

The researchers, though, noted that not all lead in soil is naturally occurring. As a comparison, the non-baby versions contain significantly less lead.

Researchers had data from 2,164 baby food samples, which included 57 different types.

Parents of young children are encouraged to consult with their child's pediatrician to learn how they can reduce lead exposure. Sixty-four percent of arrowroot cookies had the harmful substance, as well as 47 percent of teething biscuits. But experts say it's important to stay vigilant about bigger sources of lead poisoning in kids.

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