Red Vines black licorice twists recalled because of high lead levels
It's often been said that it's stupid to eat too much candy.
But who would have thought that the candy itself may lower your level of intelligence?
Earlier this week, the California Department of Public Health warned consumers not to eat Red Vines Black Licorice Candy because its lead levels were higher than the state's standard.
Those produced with a best-before date of 020413 had as much as 0.33 parts per million of lead, according to an examination of the licorice.
"This concentration of lead could provide up to 13.2 micrograms of lead per serving," the state declared. "Children under 6 years of age should not consume more than 6.0 micrograms of lead per day from all dietary sources."
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's list of recent recalls does not include Red Vines black licorice.
Last year, SFU environmental-health expert Bruce Lanphear won the Nora and Ted Stirling Prize in Support of Controversy with his research into the impact of higher lead levels on the brain.
He told the Straight at the time that there is "no safe level" of lead in the bloodstream.
Health Canada states that there is an association between "neurobehavioural and cognitive changes" and lead levels of 10 to 15 micrograms per decilitre of blood. Once levels exceed 40, the body loses its ability to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the organs.
However, Lanphear said last year that intelligence-quotient scores fall six to seven points when lead levels rise from between one to 10 micrograms.
He also noted that kids today can have lead levels that are more than 100 times those of preindustrial ancestors.
Here's another reason to avoid black licorice. Some, including the Livestrong website, have linked eating large amounts of this candy to impotence in men, along with other health problems.
The Livestrong site was created by cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has been in the news in connection with allegedly consuming other substances that aren't good for you.
So you'll have to take that for what it's worth.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.