The types of baby food most affected included grape, apple, pear and mixed fruit juices; root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots; and arrowroot cookies and teething biscuits.
"Lead can have a number of effects on children and it's especially harmful during critical windows of development", said Aparna Bole, a pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, who was not involved with the report.
"EDF also found that more than 1 million children consume more lead than the FDA's limit", the report said.
Lead can cause problems with attention and behavior, cognitive development, the cardiovascular system and immune system, Bole said. They analyzed 22164 samples, which were not classified by brand. The study found the lead through an analysis of 11 years of federal data. His further analysis of the EPA report was that food is the major source of lead exposure in two-thirds of toddlers.
The Total Diet Study is an FDA "market-basket" survey of typical foods eaten by USA consumers and is used to assess average nutrient intake and exposure to chemical contaminants.
Low levels of lead contaminate numerous foods Americans eat, including almost all categories of baby food, a report by the Environmental Defense Fund shows.
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The FDA says the administration set a maximum daily lead intake of six micrograms, which is being reviewed, saying on its website, "lead is in food because it is in the environment and lead can not simply be removed from food".
"I can't explain it other than I assume baby food is processed more", Neltner said. The group suggests more research on lead sources is needed. And the Flint water crisis has brought lead pipes to the forefront of our minds.
The group also found that more baby food versions of apple and grape juice and carrots had detectable lead than the "regular" versions.
There's no safe level of lead, according to the EDF, and yet about 500,000 children have elevated blood lead levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pediatrician Jennifer Lowry, who chairs the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Environmental Health, stressed that the onus to change their standards regarding lead was on the FDA and industry. The Environmental Defense Fund doesn't say that parents should necessarily avoid certain products, but they do advise parents to talk to their doctors about risks of lead exposure. For comparison, we are talking about an average increase of 0.46 μg/dL blood lead levels from dietary exposure alone.
Yes, exposure to lead from paint chips and contaminated drinking water is not the only things you have to worry about, your child may be exposed to lead through the food they eat. The food was collected from a different city each year and combined into composite samples - for example all the grape juice was poured into one sample.