Lead, Arsenic and Other Toxic Metals Found in Baby Food Products: Study

New research suggests that many baby food products contain toxic heavy metals, which could permanently alter a developing brain and result in behavioral and cognitive impairment.

In a study released this month by Healthy Babies Bright Future, researchers indicate that lead, arsenic and other neurotoxins were found in a number of baby food products sold throughout the United States, raising concerns about developmental issues and diseases.

Researchers from the organization collected and tested 168 baby food products across 61 brand names to measure the amount of arsenic, calcium, lead and mercury which could be found in one sample. Various food groups were tested including popular cereals, fruits, juices, and snack foods.

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According to the test results, 95% of food products contained one or more of the heavy metal toxins, while roughly 20% contained over 10 times the federally recommended lead limit. Researchers indicated 95% of the food products contained lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury, while 25% contained all four heavy metals.

Researchers determined food products made with rice contained some of the highest levels of arsenic, citing some cereal products contained inorganic levels of arsenic exceeding the FDA limit of 100 ppb. This appears to confirm a number of previous findings over the years.

Fruit juices, carrots, and sweet potatoes were among other products that contained the highest levels of heavy metals, with many of the products containing several of the neurotoxins.

Although the toxic in the baby food products are natural elements that occur in the air, water and soil, highly concentrated levels of these elements can cause severe adverse health effects according to researchers.

Past research has found toxins such as arsenic, calcium, lead and mercury can impact the growth of an infant’s brain, lower IQ and increase the chance of cancer as well as lifelong deficits in intelligence.

Specifically, inorganic arsenic found in rice and cereal products has shown to be a potent human carcinogen and a neurotoxin that has been linked to reduced IQ scored for children. According to the FDA, rice intake is three times greater for infants than for adults. The FDA proposed new limits for the levels of inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal in April 2016, but has so far failed to finalize the limitations.

Lead exposure  has been found to cause serious nervous system injury, brain damage, seizures, growth or mental disabilities, as well as other severe health problems throughout the rest of their childhood and life. Past research has found lead exposure in infants and children may increase their risk of becoming autistic.

Healthy Babies Bright Future released a series of recommendations within the study, which are designed to help parents and caregivers avoid heavy metal exposures. The organizations recommends parents limit the amount of infant rice cereal a child eats, avoid brown rice products which were found to contain the highest levels of inorganic arsenic, avoid apple and grape fruit juices and to go easy on the chocolate to limit the amount of cadmium and lead consumption.


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