SU Professor calls for changes on safe lead levels in children

An SU professor is investigating how low lead levels from food impact children's bodies.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. --- In the wake of stories from Flint, Michigan and now at some Central New York schools, Keahasia Delee is now paying more attention to what her family eats and drinks. After doing some research she learned that lead can make it's way into foods her family eats such as fruit, sugar and oatmeal.

"There's a lot of kids in poverty who's parents who don't know how to switch up their kids meal, so I think there should be more information and education on what are we intaking," says Delee.

The FDA says lead is present in small amounts throughout the environment due to its natural occurrence and lead in soil can be absorbed by plants grown for food. SU professor Dr. Brooks Gump is studying how low lead levels from food impact children's bodies. His latest study has shown even levels below the government standard can be harmful.

"The heart's pumping harder. It's building up more mass which isn't healthy. It's actually a predictor of subsequent cardiovascular disease and risk," says Gump.

So far, Dr. Gump has tested about 200 children from the Syracuse area and half have shown lead levels which are concerning to him.

"We need to turn our attention to sources of low level lead exposure as well as better ways to remove lead from blood," says Gump.

Dr. Gump is hoping this study and his work will help to shed light on his belief that low lead levels are dangerous enough to prompt change.

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