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High levels of lead found in everyday consumer products

Mexico City, D.F. — High levels of lead have been found in everyday products in Mexico, including sweets and cookware. The research emerged from an early-2000 US study that reported lead concentrations in sweets.

A report form the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) found high levels of lead in children living in Mexico City. The 2016 research published in the journal Environmental Research, analyzed 20 of the most consumed candies by children. The results showed recorded lead levels above the FDAs accepted 0.1 parts per million (ppm).

The candies with 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).

Researchers also tested other sources for lead exposure including cookware. Project results concluded that many enameled potteries for storing food or cooking also contained high levels of lead as did candy wrappers.

Marcela Tamoya, a physician with Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology and part of the Nutrition and Health Research Center of the INSP, said that pottery is the main source of lead exposure in Mexico.

“Every time we eat food prepared, served or stored in this type of ceramic, lead is released and we eat it,” he explained.

He also explained that the effects of lead on human health is not immediately noticeable, but over time it generates severe and permanent consequences, such as the neurodevelopment of children. Once consumed, lead reaches the liver, kidneys and brain and is also deposited in bones and teeth.