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Balsamic vinegar

Many Types of Balsamic Vinegar Contain High Levels of Lead

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: balsamic vinegar, lead, health news

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(NewsTarget) Findings from a November 9, 2009, Environmental Health News report have revealed that many varieties of balsamic vinegar contain trace amounts of lead that are contributing to neurological and other damage in both children and adults. Ingestion of a single tablespoon of vinegar with the highest tested levels of lead was found to potentially raise a child's blood lead level by 30% while two tablespoons a day would raise it by 55%.

Traditional balsamic vinegars have always been procured using time-tested methods of barrel fermentation that instill the rich balsamic flavor loved by many. However research is beginning to show that many of these vinegars, particularly those that are aged for the longest periods of time, contain dangerously high levels of lead that could be contributing to childhood behavior disabilities like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

In 1991, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) set the maximum threshold of lead exposure in children to 10 micrograms (mcg) per deciliter, a level that more recent research suggests is too high. The CDC itself recognizes that the toxicity of lead is so severe that there is no specific minimum threshold for which adverse effects do not occur.

In 2002, a California lawsuit concerning lead-tainted vinegar led to state mandates that established the maximum allowable daily level of lead at .5 mcgs per day, which translates to 34 parts per billion (ppb). Shelves in the state stocked with untested or threshold-exceeding balsamic vinegar must contain a warning sign indicating that the products contain lead and may be harmful to health.

Since not all balsamic vinegars contain lead, and some more than others, producers are expressing concern that balsamic vinegar is receiving a bad rap despite the fact that many other grape products also contain lead. They also allege that independent experts have verified that grapevines tend to absorb lead from the ground and that the occurrences are completely normal and to be expected.

Some toxicologists and others, however, oppose the idea that lead contamination is occurring due to soil conditions and rather suggest that production and storage methods are the culprits. Testing has revealed that vinegars aged the longest in wood barrels had the highest levels of lead contamination.

Many producers are now independently testing and verifying their vinegar products in order to meet guidelines and to assure customers that their products are safe. Many brands meet or exceed the California threshold requirements and some even print a stamp of approval on their labels.

Since trace amounts of lead can be found in all kinds of foods, it seems unfair to simply target balsamic vinegar. However it is best to practice caution and seek out those products that have verifiably minimal levels of toxic carcinogens like lead.

There are also a variety of heavy metal detoxification regimens that can be utilized in order to keep the body in tip-top shape, including supplementation with chlorella, spirulina, sulfur-rich foods like cabbage and garlic, and fresh juicing. While it is best to keep heavy metal ingestion at a minimum, nutrient-rich diets play an important role in continually purifying the blood and detoxifying the body.


Special Report: Some vinegars - often expensive, aged balsamics - contain a big dose of lead - Environmental Health News

Clinically Proven Oral Chelation: Baseline's Alternative Health Newsletter

OEHHA Proposition 65 - Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.

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