Not too long ago a friend of mine living in Southern California came across a UC Davis ad which was offering free egg testing to all the local farmers. You see recent fires in the area left contaminants on the grounds which contained heavy metals, building materials, and other chemicals were being gobbled up on the ground and ending up in the eggs. Yikes! My friend, Susan, called up UC Davis and took advantage of the opportunity. Luckily her test results were positive and she could continue enjoying her eggs. See below of the test results from the UC Davis study and draw your own conclusions.
This led me down an interesting path to discover if heavy metals were an issue around my house. The heavy metal that scares me the most is Lead because of its adverse effects, especially on children.
Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration does not have guidelines for acceptable levels of Lead in the eggs we eat? This was quite alarming when I first read it and I thought it must have been a typo.
FDA guidelines for consumption of Lead in our food (not specific to eggs) was published in 1993, which states 6 micrograms are the acceptable daily intake levels for children 6 years old or younger. Upon further investigation, I found that contamination issues are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, if you want to test Lead levels in your backyard you can do a soil test yourself or contact an environmental science specialist in your area. If this concerns you, I would recommend doing a quick google search for “your state + environmental science specialist,” to get your soil and eggs tested. Below is a chart describing the side effects of Lead poisoning from the Kern Public Health website with more details.
In addition to the soil and eggs, BYC farmers should check the food and treats you give to your pets. Oyster shells can often have high levels of Lead, so double-check the calcium supplements you're giving to your girls. An alternative calcium supplement to oyster shells is FLYGRUBS. With its high levels of calcium and other healthy nutrients, you can’t go wrong… and YES we are biased:-)
According to the EPA, Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals, causing health effects. It can be found in the air, soil, water and paint in our homes. The vast majority of Lead exposure comes from fossil fuels and emissions from industrial facilities. I encourage you all to read both of the articles linked below and to do some of your own research!