Physical Wellness

Metals In Local Groceries Can Impact Kids Health, Study Warns

Kamal Nayan
November 30, 2014 05:24 PM EST

Children may be getting higher than recommended levels of calcium, nickel and manganese, a survey of metal concentrations in food and beverages said. 

"At the moment we have limited information on dietary exposure to metals and the potential health effects of dietary exposure to metals in children, so it is difficult to say [how concerned we should be by our findings]," said Dr Anna Callan in the press release.

"For some of the metals we examined there is limited data worldwide on children's dietary exposure, so it is difficult to compare.

"But we know that for many persistent chemicals in the environment, including metals, diet forms the major exposure pathway for people who don't smoke or who aren't occupationally-exposed."

Cadmium intake in WA children aged eight years exceeded the European Food Safety Authority guideline, while nickel and manganese intake was higher in young children than reported in international studies, the survey found. 

Exposure to cadmium at low levels can lead decreased bone density and kidney dysfunction. 

Manganese exposure can lead to range of neurological effects including hyperactivity, researchers noted. 

"A healthy, balanced and varied diet is important for everyone, and especially children," Dr Callan added.

"Eating a variety of foods will help to minimize the risks of metals exposure.

"And practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands before eating and washing fruit and vegetables to remove traces of soil, may also reduce exposure."

The survey was carried out at Edith Cowan University.