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Wine: getting the lead out.

Earlier this year, two researchers advised wine lovers to sip from ordinary glasses, since leaded crystal may leach lead into the fermented beverage (SN: 1/26/91, p.54). Food and Drug Administration researchers now offer additional lead warnings.

New surveys conducted by the FDA's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms indicate that up to 4 percent of currently marketed wines harbor more than 300 parts per billion (ppb) lead -- a level that FDA says "could be harmful to consumers." On Sept. 10, FDA officials announced plans to limit the lead levels allowable in table wines -- probably to about 300 ppb.

The agency also plans to eventually ban the lead-foil wrappers traditionally used to seal a wine bottle's cork stopper. Recent tests revealed that when the foil leaves lead salts on the rim of a bottle, this dissolvable residue can boost the wine's lead content during pouring. For now, FDA recommends wiping the rim with a cloth dampened with vinegar or lemon juice -- before extracting the cork.
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Title Annotation:warnings on lead contamination
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 21, 1991
Words:167
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