prevnews.gif (4660 bytes)
- The ARC - California Edition -

Back Home Up Next















Lead Strike Anew

The mineral lead is toxic to humans and animals. Young children (and fetuses) are most susceptible to the toxic effects of lead, and even small amounts of lead have been reported to affect children’s physical and intellectual growth.

Large amounts of lead in a child’s blood have been found to cause brain damage, mental retardation, behavior problems, anemia, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, hyperactivity, developmental delays, other physical and mental problems, and in extreme cases, death.

In the years past, automobile fuels, paints, cooking utensils, and drinking water systems were often cited as being the major sources of lead poisoning.

As a result of having this knowledge, these types of lead sources have been greatly reduced or eliminated during the past half century. This has resulted in finding levels of lead in children being typically 90% less than the lead levels occurring during the 1950’s.

Early this spring, a new source of lead exposure to humans was identified by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During their routinely conducted Market Basket Test, elevated levels of lead were detected within a sample of mixed frozen vegetables.

Later analysis determined that the carrots in this vegetable mixture were the prime source of the lead, and that these carrots had been grown in a specific section of a field located in Quincy, Washington.

A state and federal work group was formed and their investigation discovered that the section of the field where these carrots had been grown formerly was an old orchard. They also determined that the source of the mineral lead originated from a lead arsenate pesticide which had been used to control gypsy and codling moths on tree fruit in that orchard until the late 1940s.

These investigators are planning to conduct follow up efforts which include: to identify old orchard lands which may have been treated with lead arsenate pesticides; to educate growers and homeowners who grow “backyard” gardens about the potential of some root crops which absorb lead from the soil; and to develop an ongoing sampling protocol to test products for lead.


Back Home Up Next