Protect Against Lead Exposure with WIC Foods

Food Packages Health and Wellness Nutrition Education

Limit lead absorption by getting enough vitamin C, calcium and iron

Children, along with pregnant and breastfeeding women are among those at risk for lead poisoning. Exposure can lead to serious health effects in a developing fetus, children and adults. Common sources of lead include lead-based paint and lead-contaminated drinking water, as well as items imported from other countries, such as consumer products, foods, cosmetics and traditional medicines.

Among the steps families can take to protect themselves from lead exposure is consuming a healthy diet. In particular, three key nutrients - vitamin C, calcium and iron - are thought to help limit the body’s absorption of lead. Your participants can get these nutrients through eating certain foods, many of which are in the WIC food packages.

Need some ideas to help your participants get adequate amounts of these nutrients and make the most of their food packages? Check out some sample meals and snacks.

Sources of Vitamin C in the WIC Food Packages

  • Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits
  • Other fruits like melon, strawberries and kiwi
  • Tomatoes and tomato juice
  • Green and red peppers
  • 100% fruit juice

Sources of Calcium in the WIC Food Packages

  • Milk and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach, and turnip, mustard and collard greens
  • Calcium-fortified foods, such as orange juice, soy milk and tofu
  • Canned salmon and sardines

Sources of Iron in the WIC Food Packages

Although less of the iron in plants is absorbed, every bite counts, and adding a source of vitamin C to vegetarian iron sources will enhance absorption

  • Iron-fortified breakfast cereals
  • Legumes (peas, beans, and lentils)
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables
  • Canned sardines
  • Tofu

 

food packages
Developed by: HHS, CDC, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency