Sunday, April 25, 2004

avoid mexican candy

In a break from our regularly scheduled programming of grieving and eating too many dill-pickle-flavored Lay's potato chips, I have to share this scary piece about lead in Mexican candy. It seems that researchers testing Mexican candy purchased in California stores have found lead in as many as one out of every four samples; you will recall that lead causes brain damage, especially in kids. The article doesn't specify brands or manufacturers, but suggests that the factories where the candy is made are not exactly sanitary.

Think ancient Rome for a minute. Got it?

Almost as horrifying as the news that 15% of the children with lead poisoning ate this candy is this quote from Jim Waddell, chief of the Food and Drug branch of the California State Health Department, who said "We have a lot more responsibilities than looking for lead in candy."

What other responsibilities would those be, Jim?

Over the past three years 3,000 kids have come down with lead poisoning. Is it meaningful that three-quarters of these children are Hispanic? Does testing candy for lead only become a public health priority when it's Anglo kids eating poisoned treats? I would like to believe that Waddell was badly misquoted, because if he really meant that statement, his head should be on a post.