Lead concentrations in Mexican candy: A follow-up report

Marcela Tamayo-Ortiz, Alison P. Sanders, Maria J. Rosa, Robert O. Wright, Chitra Amarasiriwardena, Adriana Mercado-García, Ivan Pantic, Hector Lamadrid-Figueroa, Martha María Téllez-Rojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Lead is a neurotoxic metal potentially affecting the developing brain. Children are particularly susceptible since they can absorb between 50% and 100% of ingested lead. There is no safe level for lead, therefore preventing exposure is crucial. We previously reported a positive association between lead concentrations found in candy and concurrent blood lead levels in Mexican children. This first report garnered media and the general public’s attention. Objective: To conduct a follow-up study to assess lead concentrations in candy brands that we previously reported with concentrations ≥0.1ppm the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recommended maximum lead level in candy likely to be consumed frequently by small children. Methods: In 2018 we analyzed 50 additional candy samples. Lead concentrations were analyzed by an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer and lead content per candy unit was calculated. Findings: We found concentrations were typically low, with a marked decrease from prior levels (2008). Nevertheless two candy units had concentrations of 0.1 ppm of lead. Conclusions: Candy may have lead concentrations up to 0.1 ppm and 1.2 µg per unit. This is a concern because candies are exported and consumed in many countries worldwide potentially resulting in human exposure. Continued public health surveillance is needed to protect populations especially vulnerable to lead exposure, especially children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Global Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


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