Healthy Kids Need Safe FoodsOctober 13th, 2011
Healthy kids need healthy food every day. Fortunately, more and more schools are focusing on serving healthy, local, organic foods for school lunch. Yet recent findings about foods marketed to children suggest that the battle to feed the children well is far from over.
First, the good news:
Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act: California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act into law this month, banning the hormone disrupter Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. To learn more about reducing children's exposure to toxic chemicals, go to: Strive to Be Toxics Free, Children's Exposure to Toxics: Costs and Solutions, and BPA Banned in California Baby Bottles.
Now the bad news:
An Apple a Day? Arsenic in Apple Juice: On his popular "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz recently warned parents about unsafe levels of arsenic in apple juice. The FDA disputed his claims, but the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center
affirms that "approximately 60% of apple juice concentrate originates
in China, where arsenic-based pesticides are used," and recommends
buying apple juice made from US apples or apple concentrate.
Lead in Children's and Baby Foods: On September 28, 2011 the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) filed a lawsuit alleging that testing found unacceptable levels of the toxic chemical lead in a variety of children's and baby foods. Foods tested and found to be contaminated with lead included grape juice, packaged pears and peaches, fruit cocktail, and baby foods containing carrots peaches, pears and sweet potatoes.
The ELF lawsuit seeks warning labels on the offending foods under Proposition 65, the Toxics Right to Know law. For decades, lead has been released into the environment from the use of lead-based pesticides, leaded gasoline and lead paint, and coal-fired power plants. The lead in the environment can then make its way into the food supply. Consumer Reports cited research earlier this year that indicated that there is no safe amount of lead exposure for children, warning that "lead poisoning in children is associated with behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems, and growth retardation."
For a list of the products ELF tested (including both those that require a warning for lead and those that do not), and more information and FAQs about the testing program and law see "Lead in Children's Foods" on the ELF website.