Thursday, July 26, 2012

Survival Food: Research and buy food wisely

A Thick Forest
A Thick Forest (Photo credit: Jon Person)

Survival and  Environmental Issues: Modern day treats

Looking at what candies contain coming from outside of the US, specifically Mexico, you will find a surprising answer. Lead. Not only do we have to worry about lead in the soil, in paint, and in toys, but also candy? According to the Orange County Register, information has been gathered that not only suggests but confirms that there are toxic levels of lead in candies, including ice-creams, imported from Mexico. According to the Register, “the California Department of Health Services has documented more than 1,500 tests of Mexican candy since 1993 – and one in four of those results has come up high for lead.” If this is the case, then why is Mexican candy still able to be imported without any changes in their production methods? Not only is Mexico permitted to produce candy laced with lead, but when California finds lead in test results they make no effort to notify the source companies. In addition, this article states that many of the lead test results were kept confidential.

Forest lake in summer
Forest lake in summer (Photo credit: Axel-D)
There are many sources of lead and many ways for lead to get into candies in Mexico. The chili mills were investigated by reporters from the newspaper who wrote “Toxic Treats.” The reporters found astounding results. The “makeshift factories…where unsafe manufacturing practices are routine; to the dirt-floor poverty…where a village has become contaminated making packages for candy.” The risk is very real and the damage that has yet to come is frightening. There are many examples already. One example is a little girl named Diana. Diana often went to the ice cream truck and picked out her favorite ice cream, one from Mexico that contained lead. Like many parents, for a long time Diana’s mother did not know about dangerous levels of lead in her daughter’s favorite sweet. Diana became very ill and the lead peaked when Diana’s blood-lead level reached 25 micrograms. This is a dangerous level, especially for young children. “At 25 micrograms, lead has the potential to stunt growth, affect hearing and damage the nerves” according to research conducted by reporters for the Orange County Register. Diana’s story doesn’t stop there. It took more than two years for Diana’s blood-lead level to decrease from dangerous levels and drop to 8 micrograms. The long term effects are still not known for this young girl at age six. For Diana’s parents, and many others, these are concerns that will never be settled.

  References: McKim, Jennifer et. al. The Orange County Register. “Toxic Treats.” April 25, 2004. Internet: < part1_printable.html>. Withgott, Jay & Scott Brennan. Essential Environment: 3rd Ed. Pearson Custom Publishing: San Francisco, 2009.

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