Apple Juice and Canned Fruit Found to Be Contaminated with Lead

This week's headlines, plus what's hot on the iVillage message boards

This week we reported on the Consumer Reports finding that some brands of protein shakes contain high levels of heavy metals, including cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury.

If that wasn’t enough to digest, now the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) has found that several children’s and baby food products are in violation of the California Proposition 65 Toxics Right to Know Law—meaning those products contain high enough levels of lead (more than .5 micrograms per serving) to warrant warning labels on them in the state of California. Among the products: apple and grape juice and canned fruit.

Though they are in violation of state law, these companies’ products are not necessarily dangerous. The .5 micrograms limit instituted by the proposition is much lower than federal standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency or the CDC. Many other foods—processed and natural alike—contain trace levels of environmental contaminants like lead, but at levels that are nearly impossible to detect. For that matter, so do dust and soil.

That said, many groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, maintain that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children. High levels of lead can lead to developmental and behavioral issues in kids, and reproductive problems in women.

“I think everything we own fell under the exceeded category,” says aug27mom on iVillage’s August 2010 Expecting Club message board.

The companies have 60 days to either remove the lead or post labels on their products.

Meanwhile, on the Diabetes board, cl-coldfingers just had her first taste of the no-calorie sweetener Truvia and is smitten with its granular, sugar-like consistency. But because the FDA has not granted it the “Generally Recognized as Safe” stamp of quasi-approval, she wonders whether she should be using it.

Truvia, for those who haven’t heard of it, is an all-natural sweetener made from the stevia plant. According to Health.com, the FDA is expected to give Truvia the go-ahead as early as this fall. Because it has not yet been approved, it can only be sold as a dietary supplement, because those are not regulated by the FDA. Pretty sneaky! That means, you can likely find Truvia in your vitamin aisle, but don’t expect to find it in any foods until the FDA pushes it through.

On the Raising a Boy message board, other iVillages wonder whether automatic towel dispensers and soap dispensers for the home is taking good hygiene too far into the realm of germophobia.

“I really believe that a little dirt is healthy. We use soap, and wash up before eating, but we don't go nuts,” says my2kidsmom199498, who likes automatic dispensers in public restrooms, but find them unnecessary at home.

Other moms, though, love the idea, and think they could help keep daycare germs from infecting everyone at home.

“I like the hands-free dispensers,” says kittyrose333. “The less we have to touch, the better. Having a little one in preschool, we seem to catch everything that goes through the classroom.”

As for me, I wish everything in my house could be hands-free, including cooking, vacuuming and dish washing. But chalk that up to laziness, not a fear of germs. Besides, I envision the soap letting loose every time my hand accidentally hits the motion sensor, which would render the whole contraption much more high-maintenance than what it’s supposed to be.

What got your attention in the headlines this week? Chime in below, or talk about it on the iVillage message boards.

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