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I’ll Take My Hot Sauce Unleaded, Thanks

Dave_B_ via Flickr

¡Ay, no! A study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health found evidence that four chile-based hot sauces imported from Mexico may contain unsafe levels of lead.

Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas bought 25 bottles of hot sauce from local venues (grocery stores, ethnic markets and the swap meet). Each bottle was shaken for 60 seconds and then checked for lead concentrations, reports the UNLV News Center.

The FDA hasn’t set a standard for the amount of lead that can be in hot sauce. However, there’s no known safe level of lead exposure, and children are particularly vulnerable to lead’s damaging effects. For candy, the FDA has set a standard for lead concentrations at 0.1 parts per million (ppm). According to Shawn Gerstenberger, one of the study’s authors, the same level should be applied toward hot sauces. He adds, “Without enforceable standards for hot sauces and condiments, manufacturers will not be encouraged to improve quality control measures designed to reduce the amounts of lead and other toxic elements before exporting.”

The four culprits in this pilot study reported to exceed the 0.1 ppm FDA standard for lead in candy are: Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero, manufactured by El Yucateco; El Pato Salsa Picante, manufactured by Walker Foods; Salsa Habanera, manufactured by Salsas Castillo and Bufalo Salsa Clasica, manufactured by Herdez.

Walker Foods has released a statement on its website pointing out that only one of seven samples used in the UNLV study contained a significant level of lead (0.23 ppm), while the other six samples were well below the study’s suggested threshold of 0.1 ppm. They are, however, discontinuing their El Pato Red Salsa Picante. So far, the other salsa manufacturers remain mum.

Though hot sauce is typically consumed in small quantities, if it’s a regular part of your or your child’s diet, you might want to be careful. It could contribute to unsafe levels of exposure to lead, especially when combined with other sources of exposure such as soil or paint manufactured before 1978.

news

Scenes from the Lead/Coal construction mess

I’m on Yale, creeping from Silver to Coal over the course of 15 minutes. My journey began at Cornell, about a block away from my destination. But construction has routed me in a giant U, and now my car is guzzling gas while all the students and University area customers simultaneously try to use the single-laned roads.

The Morningstars put a sign in front of their store, Free Radicals, on Yale and Lead that says something to the effect of: Road destruction will continue until you buy clothes from us.

It’s late, 11:30 p.m. I tried to take Garfield heading east. I turn left onto my street, then meet a barricade. The rules have changed again. Now, you can’t cross Coal. I sit, exhausted, wondering what to do next. In my weary state, I’m wondering if there’s even a path left to get to my house. Into my headlights walks a baseball cap-wearing neighbor. He moves the barrels for me, laughs, and says he hasn’t much cared for the construction himself.

I’m getting my mail. Down the street, I see a nearby business owner on his phone, angrily moving the barrels back into place. People have been cutting across his parking lot to get onto Lead. He sits on the curb, frustrated.

I’m riding my bike to work to avoid the morning traffic inching along the too small streets; Silver and Yale are just not ready for this many drivers. On Silver, careless and impatient road warriors, so many more than usual, try to cut around me. They pass way too close. I wait to cross Yale and continue down the designated Bicycle Boulevard. It’s taking some time, as the traffic is bad. The car behind me begins to honk. Finally, I can cross. A driver patiently stops to let me through. The truck behind him honks.

I can’t be the only one driving in circles, reminiscing about the good ol’ days (a week or two ago), when things were better, simple. Lead went west, two lanes. Coal went east, two lanes. Life was good.

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    3 Bad Jacks9.23.2014