When Tom and Yara got test results which showed their son, Orion, had high lead levels they were shocked.
“It was like my world fell apart. I thought I’d done everything correctly, and I just got so upset,” said Yara.
Tom says he was floored, “Of all the things I thought that could happen to my son this was the furthest thing from my mind.”
Scouring the Internet for information, they say diets high in calcium, iron and Vitamin C were the talk of the Web.
“It's one of the top results when you do searches online,” Yara told said.
The diets are even recommended by the CDC.
But researcher Katarzyna Kordas, PhD, an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University at Buffalo, recently wrote in the Journal of Pediatrics questioning whether foods can help prevent lead exposure or reduce lead blood levels.
“There is a mismatch between the recommendations, the way that they are made, and the published scientific evidence,” Dr. Kordas told us in an interview.
According to Dr. Kordas, some research shows nutrients, like iron, may help keep lead out of the body, but she says it’s less clear which specific foods may help.
"There are no foods that we can say with confidence, if your child eats these foods, they will have a lower blood lead level or that it will help protect your child from lead exposure," she said.
The CDC would not comment specifically on Kordas’ commentary. It does stand by its dietary recommendations and told us that “lead-nutrient interaction data are limited and somewhat inconsistent,” and, “More research is needed to better understand how vitamins, minerals, and foods interact with lead.”
Professor Kordas says, “I agree that further research is needed.”
Meantime, Tom and Yara say it can never hurt to keep feeding Orion a well-balanced diet,” with Yara adding, “I already feed Orion such healthy foods.”
Experts all agree, when it comes to lead poisoning, avoiding lead exposure in the first place is the best line of defense, and a healthy well balanced diet it essential for all children.