The Food and Drug Administration wants to reduce the amount of lead in processed food for babies and young children.
The FDA is recommending:
- 10 parts per billion for fruits, vegetables (excluding single-ingredient root vegetables), mixtures (including grain and meat-based mixtures), yogurts, custards/puddings, and single-ingredient meats
- 20 parts per billion for root vegetables (single ingredient)
- 20 parts per billion for dry infant cereals
The agency notes that even low levels of lead exposure can harm a child's health and development.
"Neurological effects of lead exposure during early childhood include learning disabilities, behavior difficulties, and lowered IQ," the FDA states. "Lead exposures also may be associated with immunological, cardiovascular, renal, and reproductive and/or developmental effects."
The FDA contends that lead can also accumulate in the body, making low levels of exposure hazardous over time.
"No safe level of lead exposure has been identified for protecting children’s health," the FDA states.
If the guidelines are adhered to, the FDA estimates babies and young children could see about a 25% reduction in lead exposure.
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