Grasshoppers are even more lethal. Kids eat them by the handful, ingesting as much as 2,300 micrograms of lead at a time.
Just 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood can permanently lower a child's IQ by four to five points, according to Maricela Narvaez-Foster of Alameda County's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Lead poisoning is hard to detect because its initial symptoms — irritability, fatigue and weight loss — often are attributed to other causes.
Check out the thorough investigative report done by the Orange County Register in 2004: "Toxic Treats". (Hint: Apparently Mexican mothers are not big on feeding their kids a lot of veggies and whole grains.)
And while Mexican culture's antipathy to scholarly pursuits is well known, does lowered IQ, caused by ingesting lead-laced food products, contribute measurably to hispanics' shocking school drop-out rate?
No one seems to be asking that uncomfortable question.