New Research Reveals That 95 Percent Of Baby Food Contains Toxic Metals

Just released research from a group of scientists shows that 95 percent of the baby food currently on the market contains dangerous levels of toxic metals that have been shown to damage the development of children’s brains, EcoWatch reports:

“Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.”

HBBF researchers looked at 168 different baby foods from 61 brands that are most commonly on shelves in the United States. Their investigation found that fully 95 percent had four toxic metals in them: arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

Overall, 26 percent of the baby food tested contained all four heavy metals, which led Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and director of the Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society at Boston College, to note:

“Arsenic, lead and other heavy metals are known causes of neurodevelopmental harm. Low level exposures add up, and exposures in early life are especially dangerous. The cumulative impact of exposures is what makes this a significant concern that demands action.”

The highest levels of neurotoxic metals were found in rice-based products, sweet potatoes, and fruit juices.

As CNN reports:

“Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ. The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.”

But the levels found by the HBBF study were far in excess of trace levels. Four of the rice cereals tested had a form of arsenic that exceeded the FDA’s threshold of 100 parts per billion (ppb):

“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.”

Additionally, the report reveals that 83 percent of baby foods had more lead than the 1-ppb recommended public health advocates. One in every five foods tested had over 10 times that amount of lead, leading the authors to comment:

“Even very low exposure levels cause lower academic achievement, attention deficits and behavior problems. No safe level of exposure has been identified.”

The results confirm another study which was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That study found at least one of the four toxic metals in 33 of 39 baby foods.

Shortly after the HBBF study was released, the group started a petition that urges the FDA to set much stricter limits on arsenic in baby food, with HBBF research director and study author Jane Houlihan remarking:

“Current arsenic contamination levels in rice cereal and juice are 36% and 75% less, respectively, than the amounts measured a decade ago. When FDA acts, companies respond. We need the FDA to use their authority more effectively, and much more quickly, to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby foods.”

Unless and until the FDA acts, HBBF urges parents to protect their children by feeding them rice-free snacks “frozen bananas and chilled cucumbers instead of teething biscuits, oatmeal instead of rice cereal, and offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.”


Featured Image Via Flickr

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Andrew Bradford

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