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

Just Posted

Telling teachers their hopes and dreams can keep troubled students from returning to jail. (Photo by Julie Leopo/EdSource)
Stanford study finds writing teachers a letter can turn around lives of some students

By Carolyn Jones EdSource Formerly incarcerated students who wrote letters to their… Continue reading

San Franciscans are likely to have the opportunity to vote in four different elections in 2022. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Electionpalooza: SF school board recall will kick off a flurry of local races

‘It’s going to be a lot of elections and a lot of decisions for voters to make’

The fate of San Francisco nicotine giant Juul remains to be seen, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reviewing whether to allow certain flavored vape products on the market. <ins>(Jeenah Moon/New York Times)</ins>
How the vape king of teen nicotine addiction rose and fell in San Francisco

‘Hey, Juul, don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

Most Read