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Naturally occurring Contaminant Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring contaminant that is ubiquitous in the environment due to rock erosion and volcanism. However, lead can also end up in the environment due to industrial emissions. Dust and precipitation are deposited directly on the surface of plants. That is why fruit and vegetables that grow above ground with a large surface area are particularly susceptible to lead contamination. Lead can also end up in animal-based food products via the livestock feed, as it accumulates in the livers and kidneys of the livestock.

Lead is absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract at rates of 50% for children and 10% for adults, and subsequently transported through the bloodstream to various organs such as the kidneys and liver, or into the nervous system. Furthermore, lead easily penetrates the placental barrier, so lead contamination can even occur before birth.

Approximately 90% of the lead that is absorbed ends up being deposited in bones and teeth. Since lead can only be eliminated from the body very slowly, over the course of time, it tends to accumulate. Critical endpoints for lead toxicity include damage to the developing nervous system (both prior to birth and during childhood), kidney damage, as well as adverse effects on the circulatory system.

In order to protect consumers, the European Commission laid down maximum levels for lead in certain kinds of food, listed in the EU regulation on contaminant maximum levels, Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006.

The GBA Group can test your food for lead, either as an individual heavy metal or with the help of a screening method that enables lead content to be identified together with 20 additional elements. If you would like any further details, we are gladly available to assist you.



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