According to a report filed by the Oakland-based Environmental Law Foundation (ELF), the toxic chemical lead has been found in a variety of children's and baby foods, including apple juice, grape juice, packaged pears and peaches (including baby food), and fruit cocktail.
ELF tested scores of brands and found that just one serving of several of the products would put children age six and younger over the daily limit for lead. Specifically, for the tainted products, one or more samples exceeded California's Prop. 65 limit of 0.5 micrograms of lead per serving.
About 85 percent of products tested had high levels of lead, including organic products.
Products with excess lead included:
Gerber 100% Juice Apple Juice
Earth's Best Organics Apple Juice
O Organics Organic Grape Juice from concentrate
R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord
Del Monte Diced Pears in Light Syrup
Gerber 3rd Foods Peaches [Baby Food]
Safeway Lite Fruit Cocktail in Pear Juice
Products that tested under the limits included:
Eating Right Kids Diced Peaches in Extra Light Syrup
R.W. Knudsen Organic Apple Juice unfiltered
Tree Top 100% Apple Juice.
Experts agree that there is no safe level for lead exposure. The toxic chemical accumulates in the body from every exposure over time. “Lead exposure among children is a particular concern because their developing bodies absorb lead at a higher rate and because children are particularly sensitive to lead’s toxic effects, including decreased IQ,” said toxicologist Barbara G. Callahan, PhD, DABT, of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in ELF's press release. According to the group, lead has been and continues to be released into the environment from decades of lead-based pesticide application, use of leaded gasoline and lead paint, and burning of coal in power plants.
ELF has previously found balsamic vinegar samples to have excessive lead levels. Spectrum Organics responded to that lawsuit by stating lead was naturally occurring in soils in the Modena region of Italy, where most balsamics come from. Spectrums's website also said, "Based on the Company’s tests, a person would need to consume somewhere between 1.3-2.6 cups (270-630ml) daily of the Company’s various vinegar products to reach the Proposition 65 lead level.”