A shocking new study by the California-based nonprofit Environmental Law Foundation has found that more than 85% of fruit juices and other drinks marketed to kids—including organic juices—contain lead levels that exceed the federal limits set for babies and children. A large percentage of other kids’ foods contain
The juices, including Earth’s Best Organics Apple Juice and Trader Joe’s Certified Organic Apple Juice (pasteurized), contained over .5 micrograms. The FDA sets a tolerable lead intake level at 6 micrograms daily, but under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (aka "Prop 65") any foods containing more than .5 micrograms require a warning label.
Lead was also found in canned peaches, pears, and fruit cocktail, including Del Monte 100% Juice Fruit Cocktail, Safeway Diced Peaches in Light Syrup, and S&W Sun Pears Premium.
A full 125 of the 146 products tested had enough lead in just one serving to require a warning label under Prop 65. The ELF has notified law enforcement officials and manufacturers about the lead levels in these products, and has asked that they either comply with Prop 65 or put warning labels on the products.
These findings are extremely disturbing, particularly since children are the ones most vulnerable to the effects of lead. Lead exposure can result in numerous health problems, including learning disabilities, neurological disorders, hearing loss and anemia. While warning labels would be a good start, the order of the day is going to have to be getting the lead out of these food products.