Tests to see if sludge-grazers absorb more lead

01 June 1998

Tests to see if sludge-grazers absorb more lead

SCIENTISTS are carrying out research to see if animals grazed on sludge-treated land have higher levels of lead in their body.

The move follows a call from Government specialists who are concerned about the link between lead and lower IQs.

Consumers are being advised to wash their vegetables thoroughly because of the use of sewage fertilisers containing industrial waste.

Recent reports suggest that the amount of lead in food is still within safety limits. In fact, the amount of lead people are consuming through food has dropped in recent years to about 0.2 milligrams a week, well below the official safety level of 1.5 milligrams a week.

In addition, tests on homegrown vegetables in urban areas had shown that they could have up to seven times more lead in them than those grown on agricultural land and sold in shops.

Nevertheless, the Governments steering group on chemical aspects of food surveillance has called for the research, and asked consumers to take greater care when washing fruit and vegetables. Glassmakers have also been urged to reduce the lead content of wine glasses and decanters.

  • The Scotsman 01/06/98 page 2

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