WASHINGTON -- The Food and Drug Administration wants to make sure no foods are sold in the United States in lead-soldered cans.
The agency proposed Monday a total ban on lead-soldered food cans that would take full effect by December 1994, the date by which retailers would have to dispose of existing supplies of foods sold in such cans.
Lead-soldered cans pose a risk to consumers because lead solder used to seal the cans can bleed into the foods they contain. The FDA said canning technology no longer requires lead solder.
The agency estimated that while 90 percent of canned foods were sold in lead-soldered cans in 1979, now only about 10 percent of imported foods are so packaged.
U.S. manufacturers stopped using lead-soldered cans in 1991, and only 1 percent of Canadian manufacturers still use lead-soldered cans, the FDA said.
Lead is a pollutant found throughout the nation's air, water and soil and can cause brain damage and other problems, especially in children.