Lead in Juice Boxes: How to Get it Out of Your Kids' Bodies

Jeanne Sager

juice box The lead found in a number of juice boxes and fruit servings for kids had parents who depend heavily on these single-serving offerings to keep their kids healthy on the go understandably upset.

And yes, that includes me.

My daughter just finished the last of the juice boxes left over from her birthday party -- one of the brands on the list.

So I asked Erin Palinski, a registered dietitian, if there was anything I could do to counteract any lead that might be in her body.

Good news!

"Research has shown the eating foods rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C may help your body absorb less lead from food sources that have been exposed to lead," says Palinski.

Where to find them:

  • Great sources of calcium include low fat milk and yogurt, cheese, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli.
  • Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are great sources of vitamin C.
  • Animal proteins such as red meat, chicken, and eggs along with plant-based proteins such as beans and legumes and dark green vegetables provide an excellent source of iron. Fortified cereals also contain a good source of iron.

"In addition to increasing your food sources of vitamin C, iron, and calcium, there are additional precautions you can take to reduce your exposure to lead," Palinski says.

"Avoid using glazed pottery and pewter dishes to serve or store food," she adds. "Also, avoid storing beverages in leaded glass decanters. It is also important to have your water tested to make sure it does not contain unsafe levels of lead."

According to the National Institutes of Health, the following signs could show your kid has been poisoned by lead:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping (usually the first sign of a high, toxic dose of lead poison)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Anemia
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)
  • Low appetite and energy
  • Reduced sensations

Many states require a lead test at 1 and again at 2 years old, but if your child is showing symptoms -- or they're older and you're worried -- your pediatrician will use a blood test to determine whether they're suffering from too much lead.


Image via Meg@n/Flickr

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