U.S. Food and Drug Administration Regulatory Strategies for Lead in Foods: Past, Present, and Future
Lead has been a topic of concern for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since the start of the Agency at the turn of the century, and, more recently, for other Federal regulatory agencies involved with protecting the safety and health of the public. All living organisms are constantly exposed to lead because it is ubiquitous throughout our environment. Lead in food is derived primarily from water, soil, food packaging materials (e.g., lead-soldered tin cans), crops sprayed with lead-based pesticides, and from exhausts of combustion engines. In recent years FDA has expanded its effort to monitor and reduce, to the lowest practical level, the exposure of the American people to lead. Our main emphasis has been placed on the exposure of infants and young children because their margin of safety from dietary exposure to lead is much smaller than that of an adult. It is apparent that some degree of dietary lead intake is unavoidable; however, the basic issue is not the natural level of lead in foods, but rather the amount in food in comparison to the amounts of lead that produce toxicity. To resolve these problems, better information is needed on the toxicology of lead as well as improvements in analytical techniques useful for regulatory purposes.
KeywordsLead Level Lead Exposure Lead Intake Canned Food Food Packaging Material
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