95 percent of tested baby foods in U.S. contain toxic metals, report says here’s what parents need to know – Yahoo Food

Posted: October 19, 2019 at 1:43 pm


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A newstudyfound that the vast majority of baby foods tested contain heavy metals, which can harm a childs brain development.

In the study, commissioned byHealthy Babies Bright Futures(HBBF) and conducted by the toxicology and economic research firmAbt Associates, tests were performed on 168 different containers of baby food from 61 U.S. baby food brands. Researchers found heavy metals specifically, arsenic, lead,cadmiumand mercury in 95 percent of the baby foods tested.

As the report points out, all of the heavy metals are developmental neurotoxins, adding, they can harm ababys developing brainand nervous system and are linked toIQ lossfrom exposures early in life.

The majority of baby food tested (40 percent) contained three different heavy metals, with 26 percent of baby foods containing all four heavy metals. Only nine baby foods (5 percent) were free of heavy metals. Lead was the most common heavy metal, found in 94 percent of baby foods, followed by cadmium, which was in 75 percent of baby foods. That was followed by arsenic (73 percent of baby foods) and mercury (32 percent).

We were surprised that so many of the baby foods had more than one heavy metal,Charlotte Brody, a registered nurse and the national director of Healthy Babies Bright Futures, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The impact is additive. A little bit of lead, a little bit of arsenic and a little bit cadmium add up.

Infant rice cereal and rice-based snacks were the worst offenders. These popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals, according to thereport.

A new study that tested U.S. baby food found that 95 percent contained heavy metals, including arsenic and lead, which are harmful to children's brain development. (Photo: Getty Images)

Heavy metals, like arsenic, are found naturally in the environment (as well as through pollution) and can enter the food supply through soil, water or air, according to theFood and Drug Administration(FDA).

Certain crops are more likely to absorb these heavy metals notably, rice, leafy greens and root vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, which the reports says retain more than most other types of fruits and vegetables.

But in some cases, fresh is the better way to go. The report found that peaches and green beans from the baby food aisle are less likely to contain detectable levels of lead than canned versions of these foods, while carrot and sweet potato baby foods have higher lead detection rates than their peeled, fresh counterparts.

Improving food safety standards can make a significant difference. The report urges the FDA to take action by establishing health-protective standards, including a heavy metals testing program for baby food, as well as factoring the cumulative health effects of infants consuming multiple types of heavy metals found in baby foods. When FDA and baby food companies address one contaminant in one type of food, children benefit, noted the report. But truly protecting children necessitates addressing the many contaminants that collectively harm a childs healthy development.

Adds Brody: Parents shouldnt have to worry about this. Parents should be able to buy any food thats on the shelf and know that its as safe as it can be.

There are steps thatparentscan take to reduce their babys exposure to heavy metals found in food. Its worth noting that going organic may not necessarily help. According to the report, Organic standards do not address these contaminants.Consumer Reportsown testing of baby foods in 2018 reached the same conclusion, stating, Organic foods were as likely to contain heavy metals as conventional foods.

However, peeling produce when possible can help by removing some of the heavy metals in the skin although, as Brody says, its a shame because there are nutrients in the peel.

In general, regularly giving your baby different types of foods not just relying on sweet potatoes and carrots multiple times a week also helps. Its likemercury in tuna the best way around it is to just not eat tuna every day, says Brody.

Parents can also make specific food swaps to help reduce a babys risk of exposure to these heavy metals. The researchers recommend:

Swap infant rice cereal for oatmeal, barley, quinoa, buckwheat or multigrain infant cereals

Swap puff (rice) snacks for rice-free ones, such as cut-up apples, unsweetened applesauce, bananas, cheese, peaches and yogurt

Swap teething biscuits and rice husks for frozen bananas or peeled, chilled cucumber

Swap rice from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or ones labeled U.S. (all of which have the highest arsenic levels, according toConsumer Reports) with basmati rice grown in California, India and Pakistan or U.S. sushi rice, which have the lowest arsenic levels. Brown rice tends to have more arsenic than white rice.

Swap fruit juice (which can contain traces ofarsenicand lead, along with being high in sugar) for plain water

Reduce how often babies consume carrots and sweet potatoes (both high in lead and cadmium) each week and serve a variety of fruits and vegetables instead

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95 percent of tested baby foods in U.S. contain toxic metals, report says here's what parents need to know - Yahoo Food

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October 19th, 2019 at 1:43 pm

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