Heightened Lead Levels In Hot Sauce Identified By UNLV Researchers

Posted on July 19, 2013

Research out of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas has discovered that some hot sauces imported into the country could contain heightened levels of lead.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers examined 25 different types of hot sauce shipped from Mexico or South or Central America to store shelves in Clark County.  Although the Food and Drug Administration does not place stipulations on the amount of lead that can exist within condiments, they do place limits on how much can be in candy, and this level was exceeded by four of the sauces examined.

However, testing of different bottles of the same product showed that lead levels fluctuated.  Still, the information has given the researchers cause for concern.  They extrapolated outward to conclude that a child who regularly ate hot sauce with excessive lead over the course of a year could find themselves having the levels of lead in their blood increased by 1.8 micrograms per deciliter, far below the 10 microgram threshold for danger stipulated by the CDC, but still problematic.  The researchers point out that this factor could combine with something like lead paint to raise lead levels even higher.

The persons behind the study believe salt and pepper ingredients are to blame for the heightened lead levels.  They’re calling for further analysis of the problem and for the FDA to adopt lead standards for condiments.

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