News regarding the presence of lead in certain paints and, frighteningly, in a number of recalled toys and imported candies has been widespread, and is something many of us are aware of. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has revealed another surprising source of lead exposure–women’s and children’s vitamins.
In survey data released by the FDA in August 2008, of the 324 multivitamin-mineral products available over the internet tested, only four vitamins failed to show the presence of lead. All others contained trace amounts which, according to the FDA, are not dangerous. As a consumer, however, it’s important to know that lead is a heavy metal that builds up in our systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to prevent lead exposure to children by identifying, controlling and removing hazards safely.
Lead is known to cause permanent brain damage, lower IQ, and is linked to a number of problems around learning and behavior, as well as other aspects of development. Especially vulnerable to lead exposure are fetuses and children under the age of 6.
To determine if you or your child has an elevated lead level, a blood lead test is required. However, the blood test is not definitive; according to the CDC, most kids with elevated blood lead levels have no symptoms. The best cure is preventing exposure.