A new report just released by the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), an environmental nonprofit agency, found that 85 percent of kids’ drinks, organic and conventional, contained so much lead that they may exceed federal limits for young children. Besides juice in flavors like apple and grape, fruit cocktail mixes, packaged pears and peaches, and some baby foods also made the list for containing unsafe amounts of lead. The ELF used a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certified lab to test 400 samples of 150 products marketed to kids.
Of the 150 products, 125 were contaminated with enough lead in a single serving to require a warning label under California’s Safe Drinking and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. The FDA sets a tolerable lead intake level at 6 micrograms daily, and the California Safe Drinking Act sets it at 5 micrograms. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there’s no safe level of exposure.
McDonalds recently pulled Shrek glasses from distribution for small amounts of cadmium in their outer coloring. Now we seem to have added lead to the juice we are pouring into those glasses.
So what are the effects of too much lead, especially on children? “Excessive lead exposure can cause anemia, hearing damage, behavioral problems, learning disabilities and host of other problems for children,” according to the Mayo Clinic. The Children’s Environmental Health Center sites that, “Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body. It can be equally harmful if breathed or swallowed. The part of the body most sensitive to lead exposure is the central nervous system, especially in children, who are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than adults.” The Center goes on to site that, “A child who swallows large amounts of lead can develop brain damage that can cause convulsions and death; the child can also develop blood anemia, kidney damage, colic, and muscle weakness. Repeated low levels of exposure to lead can alter a child’s normal mental and physical growth, and result in learning or behavioral problems.”
We need to get back to eating fresh fruits rather than drinking them or opening them up from a can. It is much better for us and our kids anyways. The best thing for parents to do in the meantime is to avoid the list of juices and fruit products that the ELF tested for lead. The products can be found at Our365 website.
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), traditionally only issues a recall or an alert if something has already gone wrong with the product, or after being notified by the company that it has found an issue or a labeling error. With limited resources and staff, it can’t test everything, and it doesn’t try too. The best bet we have as consumers is to stop buying these tainted products and let the manufacturers know about your concerns.