NEW YORK — There is a chicken dinner in New Yorker history.
A dinner of fresh-baked doughnuts and a little sugar, of course.
But the food isn’t for everyone.
The New York Times reported last week that the restaurant chain W.H. Houlihan’s had banned all new diners from eating there for at least three months due to concerns about the high levels of lead and other contaminants in the restaurant’s food.
At least two other restaurants in the city have similarly imposed similar restrictions.
It is not uncommon for people to take food from other diners at the same restaurant, the Times said, and the restaurant has had at least one customer die of exposure to lead poisoning.
In New York, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in October that the average blood lead level in New Yorkers is about three micrograms per deciliter, and more than half the state’s population has a blood lead of more than 25 microgram per decile.
“In addition to its health effects, it’s associated with a number of serious social problems, including substance abuse, delinquency, and other health problems,” said Dr. Michael Spitzer, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
If a person has a higher blood lead, they are more likely to be exposed to lead in other ways, too.
For instance, in New Jersey, a man in his 20s died in January of poisoning from lead poisoning after drinking from a drinking fountain.
He also had high blood lead levels in his blood, the state health department said.