Say It Ain’t So! Study Finds High Levels of Lead in Mexican Hot Sauces


Ugh, I hate when science ruins your favorite food.

Thanks to a study by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, we now know that there are high levels of lead found in certain hot sauces imported from Mexico. Researchers gathered 25 brands of hot sauces from Mexico and South America, swooping them up from local ethinic markets. The collection included a variety of different manufacturers and sauce types, and each bottle was shaken for 60 seconds, then examined for lead concentrations and pH levels.

While four brands of hot sauces (16 percent) exceeded the FDA standard for unsafe levels of lead, 0.1 ppm, you can’t get the full results for two reasons: 1) It costs a hefty sum of moola 2) academic databases have to wait 18 months after the publication’s date to host their papers. Luckily, Gustavo over at the OC Weekly got a hold of a “piratería version of the report,” and was able to find the 5 most dangerous hot sauces from the study.

A quick note on the potential dangers of lead exposure:

  • Lead poisoning can cause detrimental effects on almost every organ of the body
  • Lead poisoning has been known to lead to learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and even death among young children.
  • Although hot sauce isn’t generally consumed in large amounts by children, it may worsen their exposure when combined with exposure to lead-based paint (made before 1978) and lead-contaminated dust found in older buildings.

Check out the full list of the 5 Worst Culprits from UNLV’s study on lead contamination.

H/T + PicThx OC Weekly