Consumer News

Baby Food Warning: Beware Of Lead, Arsenic And Heavy Metals

Researchers are encouraging parents to check what they are feeding their babies after nearly 170 baby foods were found containing toxic heavy metals. Ingesting these chemicals could negatively affect brain development in children.

The new study by nonprofit organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) analyzed 168 baby foods that are currently available on the market. They found that 95 percent of all brands tested contained either lead, arsenic, cadmium or mercury, abc27 News reported Tuesday.

Exposure to high levels of the chemicals in food could reduce more than 11 million IQ points in newborns and children up to 2 years old. Young children are still developing, and their metabolic pathways still lack immunity to environmental hazards, making them vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals, Business Insider reported Wednesday

HBBF analyzed baby food products from 2014 to 2017 in 14 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Researchers collected product samples from more than 60 brands and 17 different retailers.

They found that rice-based foods, particularly cereals, contained the highest levels of toxic heavy metals. Most of the products had arsenic. 

Among all baby foods, four cereals appeared with arsenic higher than the safety limits set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of 100 parts per billion. The highly contaminated samples came from Whole Grain Rice Cereal from Earth's Best, Organic Brown Rice Cereal from Healthy Times, and Brown Rice Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Baby Cereal from BioKinetics.

Aside from decreased IQ, the other effects of arsenic on brain development, include poor memory and slower motor function. The chemical can also increase the risk of birth defects, cancer, heart disease and diabetes in children. 

The baby foods that contained lead could put babies at risk of permanent brain damage. Ingesting this heavy metal may cause learning disabilities and violent behavior later in life.

HBBF researchers are calling on manufacturers to immediately remove the toxic metals from their products. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York has also directed the FDA to review the HBBF report and launch efforts to address the issue. 

"The report is very, very troubling," he said in a statement. "Parents across the land should worry about teaching their children the ABCs, not worry about what's in their baby's food."

Child breakfast Government health officials and health experts recommend that parents manage the diet of young children to support their development and reduce the risk of allergies and other conditions. Pixabay