WASHINGTON – The FDA proposed Thursday a stricter recommended limit on the amount of lead, a highly toxic metal, allowable in certain types of children's candy.
The Food and Drug Administration now recommends that candies eaten by small children not contain more than one-tenth of a part per million lead. That amount of lead does not pose a significant risk to small children, the agency said.
"This new guidance level will further reduce an already minimal risk from lead exposure in candy," said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.
Most domestic and imported candies already meet the stricter lead threshold. However, the FDA moved to lower the limit from an earlier half a part per million after the sampling of imported candy from Mexico and after information from other sources revealed additional ingredients used in some sweets can boost the lead content beyond allowable levels. Those ingredients include chili powder and some salts.
Lead poisoning is linked to behavioral problems and learning disabilities and can even cause seizures or death. Children age 6 and younger are most at risk of lead poisoning as their bodies are growing quickly.