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Is Vinegar Dangerous for Kids?

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A new report says certain vinegars contain lead. Dr. Cara Natterson gives us the bottom line.

balsamic vinegar

The Environmental Health Sciences organization said Monday that U.S. children could be at risk by consuming certain vinegars containing lead. They said lead found in balsamic and other red wine vinegars could significantly increase a child's lead level.

Great -- now vinegar is bad for our kids, too?!

We asked pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson for the bottom line. "I wouldn't worry too much about an epidemic of lead toxicity from vinegar ingestion," she says. "I hadn't heard about lead in vinegar before. It's not too surprising because vinegar is not typically consumed in high quantities by children in the first place.

"When we worry about lead exposure among children, the most common sources are paint, water, dust, and dirt. Lead exists in these places because of leaded paints (outlawed in 1978), leaded gasoline (phased out between the 1970s-90s), and lead solder used in pipes (but not after the mid-1990s). These lead sources still exist in buildings that were built before the laws changed (and which haven't been stripped and repainted) or completely re-plumbed. People often think only about their homes, but schools and office buildings need to be considered as well.

"The best way to determine if your child has a high lead level is to ask your doctor to test the blood. As for vinegar, while it's a good idea to identify any source of potential lead exposure for children -- and then to remove that source -- I wouldn't worry too much about this threat."



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