Government report finds detectable amounts of lead in baby foods

WASHINGTON (NBC News) — A startling new report finds detectable levels of lead in baby food.

The Environmental Defense Fund explored data from the Food and Drug Administration, finding what it calls “detectable” levels of lead in some baby food, though there’s no information about how much or which brands are involved.

“That included fruit juices, baby fruit juices, root vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and some categories of cookies like arrowroot biscuits and teething cookies,” notes the Environmental Defense Fund’s Sarah Vogel.

Some samples had no lead at all.

The FDA did not provide a response to this report as NBC News requested, but its website says the administration set a maximum daily lead intake six micrograms.

Why not zero? The FDA website says “lead is in food because it is in the environment and lead cannot simply be removed from food.”

Experts say it’s important to stay vigilant about bigger sources of lead poisoning in kids.

Crumbling, peeling paint in older homes is one of the nation’s biggest sources of lead exposure.

It’s an issue Dr. Aparna Bole always brings up when she sees patients at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

The pediatrician says the only safe amount of lead for children is zero.

“Lead can have an impact on the developing brain. It can have consequences later in life when it comes to issues around attention, behavior,” Dr. Bole explains.

Doctors discourage parents from worrying too much about lead in baby food.

“I certainly would not recommend avoiding entire food groups because of a concern about lead exposure. Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies,” Dr. Boles says.

Parents can make their own baby food, use local produce when possible and speak to their pediatricians about the best ways to avoid lead. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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