Lead Detected in Candy

I know that this post is a diversion from the Regulatory FAQ series that I promised in my last post, but I feel this is important so here it is:

I received an email yesterday from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) , the agency responsible for determining the levels at which chemicals, compounds, and elements are toxic to human health and/or the environment. This email stated that candies containing chili powder and tamarind have been found to contain lead in the candy wrapper and in the candy itself. The lead is believed to be naturally-occurring and is also believed to be somewhat avoidable through good agricultural and manufacturing practices. The email went on to state the following:

Chili powder and tamarind are popular ingredients in Mexican-style candies that are sold in California. Data have shown that some of these Mexican-style candies are contaminated with the toxic metal lead. Research has determined that some of the lead in the candies comes from the chili powder and tamarind ingredients. A new law in California requires that OEHHA develop standards for the naturally-occurring level of lead in candies and for the acceptable levels of lead in candy wrappers. This law is intended to help identify candies that should not be sold in California (California Health and Safety Code, section 110552). OEHHA is in the process of determining how much lead in chili powder and tamarind, as well as other candy ingredients, might be due to naturally-occurring lead. OEHHA is also determining other ways lead may contaminate chili powder and candies, include processing and packaging.
OEHHA requests submission of data relevant to its determination of the level of naturally-occurring lead in candies containing chili and tamarind, as defined in California Health and Safety Code, section 110552(c)(3).

Workshops will be held at the following times and locations:

San Diego Area:

DATE: March 5, 2008
TIME: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
PLACE: Sherman Heights Community Center
2258 Island Ave.
San Diego, California

Los Angeles Area:

DATE: March 6, 2008
TIME: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
PLACE: Junipero Serra State Office Building, Pacific Ocean Room
320 West 4th St.
Los Angeles, California

Additionally, interested parties are encouraged to contact:

Dr. John Faust
Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch
Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1600
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 622-3185 (phone)
(510) 622-3211 (fax)
jfaust@oehha.ca.gov (e-mail)

I will post here as more information becomes available.

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