According to a new report authored by the Senior Scientist of Center for Environmental Health and the organization’s Proposition 65 attorney, litigation and subsequent legislation may have contributed to a decrease in the amount of lead in certain candies sold in California. Lead is listed on the Proposition 65 list, which mandates warnings for products that present a risk of lead exposure. Lead exposure can occur through a variety of means, including consumption of foods.
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH), in conjunction with other organizations, tested chili and tamarind candies for lead beginning in 2004. It claimed that some of those candies contained substantial amounts of lead. Chili and tamarind candies in this study contained lead levels that fluctuated from below the detection limit to 1100 parts per billion (ppb). Forty-five percent of candies in 2004 demonstrated lead content above 100 ppb. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that lead levels in candy not exceed 100 ppb.
CEH initiated litigation which resulted in restrictions on the amount of lead allowable in these candy products. The judgment set a limit of 100 ppb for lead in chili and tamarind candies, which was later incorporated into California law. Following the litigation against several candy manufacturers, studies of lead contamination in the subject candies apparently revealed two significant results: the number of candies sold in California containing significant levels of lead dropped from almost half to just three percent five years later and no candy contained lead in amounts exceeding 100 ppb in 4 of the 7 years following litigation.
CEH emphasized the importance of trying to decrease lead contamination especially in food products marketed to children. It also highlighted that enforcement of Proposition 65 was instrumental in reducing the amount of lead in candies.
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