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An expert in Assam State Public Health Laboratory examines the Maggi noodles in Guwahati on Thursday. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India have advised all state governments to test samples of Maggi noodles. Photo: PTI
An expert in Assam State Public Health Laboratory examines the Maggi noodles in Guwahati on Thursday. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India have advised all state governments to test samples of Maggi noodles. Photo: PTI

Maggi noodles: How much lead is too much?

Tests conducted in UP showed samples contained 17.2 parts per million (ppm) of lead, many times the allowable limits which range between 0.01 and 2.5 ppm

According to an Associated Press report, “tests—performed by food safety authorities in Uttar Pradesh—showed that samples contained 17.2 parts per million (ppm) of lead, many times the allowable limits which range between 0.01 and 2.5 ppm."

Mint contacted the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India, based in Bengaluru, to ascertain the effects on children, especially those who are six years and younger.

While ingesting lead is damaging for adults and children alike, exposure to lead is particularly harmful for children, as they are more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead content. The poisoning can affect the growth of bones, muscles and brain.

Effects of lead poisoning in children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based in the US states that a blood lead level of 0.05 ppm (5 μg/dL) or above is a cause for concern in children.

Even at low levels, lead can cause harm and is associated with:

• Learning disabilities

• Attention deficit disorder

• Speech and language impairment

• Decreased muscle growth

• Decreased bone growth

• Kidney damage

High levels of lead are life threatening and can cause seizures, unconsciousness, and death.

Effects of lead poisoning in adults

The CDC, for adults, has designated a blood lead level of more than 0.1 ppm (10μg/dL) as a cause for concern. High levels of lead can cause:

• Increased chance of illness during pregnancy

• Harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death

• Fertility problems in both men and women

• High blood pressure

• Digestive issues

• Nerve disorders

• Memory and concentration problems

• Muscle and joint pain

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