Time to shop for candy! The products below have been tested for lead. Which ones do you think tested positive? Drag and drop all the candies, and then find out if your hunches were right.
TRICK OR TREAT?
When Americans buy candy from the grocery store, most assume the worst they're risking is tooth decay. But as it turns out, a number of candies sold in California stores were recently found to contain lead, which even in low amounts has been linked to serious health problems including anemia, behavior problems and lowered IQ.
In this game, based on 2013-2014 lead testing conducted by the California Department of Public Health, you'll shop for candy by dragging the products into the green "buy it" cart or the pink "not interested" cart. After you finish your selections, your receipt will tell you about the lead test results* of each product.
Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be found in the water, soil, and even inside of your home! Ingesting lead can cause a wide variety of health problems, particularly in children and pregnant women. That's one of the reasons the government has set maximum recommended limits on how much lead is allowed in the foods we eat. According to California law, businesses are required to warn customers when the amount of lead in food exceeds .1 parts per million (0.1 ppm).
But figuring out which candies contain lead is trickier than you think. Lead-contaminated candies don't necessarily taste different than normal candies, so regular testing is necessary to tell which candies are safe. And some companies that used to sell tainted candies have cleaned up their products, while others are facing new sources of contamination in certain ingredients.
Most shoppers don't have the benefit of a toxicology report when they choose which products to buy, so they have to use their knowledge about ingredients and candy processing to make educated decisions about what feels safe. Sound difficult? Try it out yourself!
Test your hunches by sorting our pile of candy products into the pink or green grocery cart. Each product's lead value is based on publicly available information provided by the state of California for 2013 and 2014, and may not reflect the most current levels of lead in these products.
Shyra Gums joined Youth Radio Interactive in 2013. As an artist, she first felt skeptical about coding. However, she challenged herself and learned HTML and CSS by building her own artist web page. Shyra was project associate with Youth Radio Interactive.
Steven Monroy is a college freshman. Throughout his years he has spent most of his time playing video games and drawing. His hobbies have motivated him to become a character concept artist for video games and movies.
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Lo Benichou is a multimedia journalist and web developer. She is the lead interactive developer at Youth Radio`. Her purpose: to hack storytelling and journalism, and create beautiful interactive content for the world wide web.