The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published its study of lead in vitamins, including children’s vitamins, and found that only 4 of the 324 tested did not contain lead. Here you are trying to do something good for your child by giving him vitamins, and there is lead! That’s scary. And annoying.
The maximum level for children’s vitamins result in an exposure of 2.88 micrograms (ug) lead per day (or ug/day). That product? Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Shake. The second highest was Superior Multi Age at 2.23 ug lead per day. THe next products drop off significantly in terms of daily estimated exposure, with Nutraceutical Pedia Powder at 0.895 ug/day.
What is more disconcerting is that the FDA says there is nothing to worry about based upon the FDA’s provisional tolerable total daily intake (PTTI). The FDA’s PTTI for children under 6 is 6 ug/day. But, California’s Proposition 65 has a lower level for its “maximum allowable dose levels” causing reproductive harm. So, while the FDA says this maximum exposure of 2.88 ug/day is safe, another agency disagrees. California’s Proposition 65 sets a daily exposure level of lead at 0.5 ug/day for lead as a reproductive toxicant (it is higher for lead as a carcinogen). In other words, the maximum exposure of lead in vitamins is 5 times what is safe under Proposition 65!
Granted, the median exposure is less than even California’s Proposition 65 standard. The median exposure for children under 6 is 0.123 ug/day. And, children don’t absorb all the lead they ingest – but they do absorb approximately 50% of the lead that reaches their digestive tract. But still . . .
If you are trying to eliminate your child’s exposure to lead (and you can read about the hazards of lead exposure), giving it to him in his vitamins is NOT what you want to do. And, lead exposure is additive, so it is prudent to eliminate all sources.
Plus, while the median for young children may be below the Proposition 65 safe level for lead as a reproductive toxicant, the median exposure for pregnant or lactating women is 0.845 ug/day, above the California Proposition 65 standard. Hello? Lead does pass across the placenta. However, adults only absorb approximately 11% of the lead that reaches their digestive tract.
You can see the entire list and the results.