High concentrations of lead in Mexican candies

The samples tested demonstrate levels above the allowed limit
Photo: Featured photography
12/08/2017
15:37
Astrid Rivera
Mexico City
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Specialists from the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) found high amounts of lead in sweets consumed by children, which poses a health risk.

In the research “Lead in candy consumed and blood lead levels of children living in Mexico City,” published in 2016 in the journal Environmental Research, 20 candies that the minors surveyed reported as the most consumed were analyzed. Some samples recorded lead levels above 0.1 parts per million (ppm,) which is the limit allowed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The sweets that had high levels of lead were Rockaleta Diablo (0,70 ppm), Tiramindo (0,37 ppm), Ricaleta Chamoy (0,19 ppm), Tutsi Pop (0,13 ppm) and Indy Marimbas (0,22 ppm).

Marcela Tamayo y Ortiz, physician in Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology and part of the Nutrition and Health Research Center of the INSP, indicated that this research emerged from the 1990s and early 2000s when studies in the United States reported lead concentrations in sweets.

The project also compiled information on other sources of lead exposure, which may include the use of lead-enamelled pottery for cooking, storing or serving food as well as candy wrappings.

Tamayo y Ortiz pointed out that lead-enamelled pottery is the main source of exposure to lead in Mexico. "Every time we eat food prepared, served or stored in this type of ceramic, lead is released and we eat it," she explained.

The leading author of the study said that the effects of lead on health are not immediately noticeable, but generates severe and permanent consequences as it affects the neurodevelopment of children. In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) points out that once inside the body, lead reaches the brain, liver, kidneys, and it also deposits in bones and teeth.

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