Presence of Toxic Heavy Metals in Baby Food Products – Should You Be Alarmed?

Close up of a mother feeding her baby in high chair.

How safe is the snack you are feeding your little one?

A recent study showed that one-third of baby food products they have tested contained several harmful elements like arsenic, acrylamide, cadmium, and lead. Included in the research were 530 different baby food products including baby formulas, drinks, cereals, and other snacks.

According to the study, no less than 65% of the tested products showed positive for arsenic; 58% contained cadmium, 36% had lead, and 10% had acrylamide.

What is alarming is that 80% of the baby formulas tested contained arsenic which according to the World Health Organization can be associated to many health concerns, including cancer and diabetes. The chemical levels found varied, but some samples showed alarming results of up to 600 parts of arsenic per billion.

Additionally, 70% of baby foods tested have 70% more acryalamide than your regular French fry. Acrylamide has been linked to cancers of the breast, kidney, oral cavity, and ovary, among others.

Included in the worst baby food retail offenders’ list are popular brands Enfamil, Plum Organics, and Sprout.

In a similar study, it showed that lead – a toxic metal that has been banned for use in paint, toys, and other products, has been found in detectable levels in 20% of 2,164 baby food samples that were tested. This highly toxic metal was mostly found in apple and fruit juices, cookies, and teething biscuits.

Lead can be very detrimental to a child’s development, especially during the critical formative years. Exposure to lead can result in problems with attention, behaviour, cardiovascular system, cognitive development and the immune system.

The brands of the samples used in the study were not identified and the levels of lead found are believed to be relatively low. Note, however, that no safe blood lead level in babies and children has been identified.

While there is no concrete recommendation to avoid specific brands of foods for babies and children, it is highly advisable to consult with a professional regarding all means of lead exposure.

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