Entries in Lead (3)


Lead Found in Eggs Laid by Chickens in New York City Gardens

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The discovery of lead in some city-raised eggs is ruffling feathers among public health experts.

An ongoing study by the New York State Department of Health found eggs raised in urban neighborhood gardens contained levels of lead significantly higher than those seen in store-bought eggs.  The lead is thought to come from contaminated soil eaten by city-dwelling chickens.

"Because we feel it's important to reduce lead exposure wherever possible, we encourage chicken keepers to be aware of the potential risks associated with contaminated soil and take measures to minimize those risks, while at the same time recognizing that raising chickens can be a healthy activity," said Henry Spliethoff, a research scientist with the Department's Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment.

Lead exposure in children is linked to low IQ later in life. And lead poisoning in people of all ages can cause difficulty sleeping, headaches, seizures and even comas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no limit for acceptable lead exposure in eggs, but in 2005 set a limit of 100 parts per billion for candy consumed by children.

Spliethoff and colleagues tested 58 eggs raised in community gardens around New York City and found nearly half contained lead levels between 10 and 73 parts per billion.  One egg had levels exceeding 100 parts per billion.

"We were encouraged to find that all the eggs had lead levels were below the guidance value except for one," said Spliethoff.  "Eggs with lead levels below that guidance value -- even with a fairly egg-heavy diet -- are probably OK."

But some experts say no level of lead in food is safe.

"There's virtually no level at which we can assume lead is not dangerous," said Dr. John Rosner, a professor of sociomedical sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Rosner, who co-authored the 2002 book Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution, said lead levels in urban neighborhoods have been "a contentious issue for a very long time."

"The problem is that we've never been willing to confront this issue head on," he said, describing how old buildings with leaded paint were demolished rather than detoxified.  "It just continues to haunt us."

While the New York study is ongoing, Spliethoff said urban farmers should be aware of their soil's lead levels and make efforts to minimize their chickens' exposure by building separate chicken runs, putting food in a feeder and laying down extra mulch or soil.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Licorice Recalled Over Lead Levels

Zoonar/Thinkstock(UNION CITY, Calif.) -- The American Licorice Company has recalled one-pound packages of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, which were found to contain high levels of lead.

The Union City, Calif.-based company issued the voluntary recall on Wednesday after the state Department of Public Health warned consumers to toss the contaminated candies.

The licorice “contained as much as 0.33 parts per million of lead,” according to a statement on the department’s website.  “This concentration of lead could provide up to 13.2 micrograms of lead per serving.  Children under 6 years of age should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day from all dietary sources.”

The recall only affects 16-ounce bags of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists with the best before date “020413.”  The date is printed on the back of the package.

“We sincerely apologize to any consumers affected by this recall,” the company said in a statement on its website.  “Safety is the number one priority for our company.  We are taking every possible precautionary step to make this situation right, including working diligently with our retailers and public health officials in an effort to keep all Red Vines consumers as safe as possible.”

Lead poisoning can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in children.  And in pregnant women, the metal can harm the fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage.

Pregnant women and parents of children who may have eaten the licorice should consult a doctor to determine if medical testing is needed, according to the Department of Public Health.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Report: Dangerous Amounts of Lead Found in Reusable Shopping Bags

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Reusable bags sold as alternatives to disposable plastic and paper shopping bags possessed dangerous levels of lead, according to test results provided to USA Today.  After testing 71 bags from 44 retailers and organizations, Frontier Global Sciences for the Center for Consumer Freedom found that bags sold at chains like Safeway, Walgreen's and Bloom had lead content above 100 parts per million. 

Both Safeway and Bloom stores have ceased the sale of bags containing lead while waiting to hear more from bag manufacturers. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to investigate more into the matter, reports USA Today.  But FDA spokesman Douglas Karas says the agency will need more time to review the test results.  Still, Karas says that lead in some bags "would present little or no likelihood of migration to (packaged) food." 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio