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Public Health Rep. 2000 Nov-Dec;115(6):537-43.

Lead-contaminated imported tamarind candy and children's blood lead levels.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City 73104, USA. robert-lunch@ouhsc.edu

Abstract

In 1999, an investigation implicated tamarind candy as the potential source of lead exposure for a child with a significantly elevated blood lead level (BLL). The Oklahoma City-County Health Department tested two types of tamarind suckers and their packaging for lead content. More than 50% of the tested suckers exceeded the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Level of Concern for lead in this type of product. The authors calculated that a child consuming one-quarter to one-half of either of the two types of suckers in a day would exceed the maximum FDA Provis onal Tolerable Intake for lead. High lead concentrations in the two types of wrappers suggested leaching as a potential source of contamination. The authors used the Environmental Protection Agency's Integrated Exposure Uptake Biokinetic (IEUBK) model to predict the effects of consumption of contaminated tamarind suckers on populat on BLLs. The IEUBK model predicted that consumption of either type of sucker at a rate of one per day would result in dramatic increases in mean BLLs for children ages 6-84 months in Oklahoma and in the percentage of children wth elevated BLLs (> or =10 micrograms per deciliter [microg/dL]). The authors conclude that consumption of these products represents a potential public health threat. In addition, a history of lead contamination in imported tamarind products suggests that import control measures may not be completely effective in preventing additional lead exposure.

PMID:
11354337
PMCID:
PMC1308625
DOI:
10.1093/phr/115.6.537
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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