Health department makes push to curb lead-candy sales

Don’t give kids candy with lead in it: seems like a no-brainer.
 

Nonetheless, a 10-month campaign by the San Francisco Department of Public Health convinced only about 20 percent of the 500 shops they visited to stop selling lead-laced candy.

Lead can cause slowed body growth, reduced IQ, hearing problems and behavior problems in children. It is found in dozens of candies produced in Mexico, especially chili and tamarind candy. The lead contamination may come from the soil where chilies are grown or from the factories where the candy and their wrappers are made.

A recent survey indicated that more than 70 percent of parents who shop at those stores unwittingly bought the lead-infected candies for their children, said Public Health’s Childhood Lead prevention Program Director Joe Walseth.

To address the problem, the department received a grant to outreach to more than 500 retailers in the Mission and outer Mission neighborhoods.

About 100 agreed to post posters in their stores announcing they no longer sell candy with lead in it; 56 signed agreements not to sell the candies.

Walseth said he wasn’t particularly surprised by the low response: many retailers don’t feel it’s their responsibility to keep lead out of candies, and feel that the federal government should have that responsibility.

Ideally, the federal government would successfully regulate lead in candies coming into the U.S., but resources are thin and most candies arrive in the country unchecked or tested by the Food and Drug Administration or other consumer product safety agencies, said Walseth.

Shop owners felt it would be an overwhelming task  to check every brand of candy their distributors brings in for candy.

But the campaign will continue, he said. Next spring the department will launch another outreach program, this time distributing binders with photos of all candies that are safe, and photos of others that have been recalled.

That is, he said, they’ll do it if the Public Health department isn’t forced to slash the program the next time budget cuts come down the tubes. 

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsPoliticsUnder the Dome

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

Most Read