(NaturalNews) Eighty-five percent of beverages marketed to children contain levels of lead high enough to require a warning under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, popularly known as Prop. 65.
The nonprofit Environmental Law Foundation used previously published studies to evaluate which kinds of food products were most likely to contain lead, then used an Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab to test 146 products from these categories that are specifically marketed for children. In addition to juices, products tested included fruit cocktail mixes, packaged peaches and pears, and baby food.
A full 125 of the products tested -- more than 85 percent -- contained more than the 0.5 microgram threshold beyond which Prop. 65 requires a "clear and reasonable" warning on the packaging.
The FDA classifies lead exposures up to 6 micrograms per day as tolerable, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that no "safe level" of lead exposure exists, in part because the heavy metal accumulates in the body over the course of a lifetime.
"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 I.Q.," said Dr. Barbara G. Callahan of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Lead damages the central nervous system, including the brain, and can produce anemia, behavioral problems, learning disabilities and hearing loss.
The products found to be contaminated included Earth's Best Organics Apple Juice, Trader Joe's Certified Organic Apple Juice (pasteurized), Del Monte 100% Juice Fruit Cocktail, Safeway Diced Peaches in Light Syrup, and S&W Sun Pears Premium. A full list is available at http://www.envirolaw.org/documents/ProductsT....
The Environmental Law Foundation has sent a letter to the producers of the contaminated products, as well as to California law enforcement, asking for compliance with Prop. 65.