Our babies are the most fragile beings and because of that we offer them the most special care. We tend to buy the best foods available on the market believing that we are offering them the best nutrition. Unfortunately, according to latest research baby food can be very harmful for your baby.
This is devastating news since it was revealed that in baby foods there are toxic heavy metals.
The researchers in the states have analyzed the content of 168 baby foods and realized that in 95% of baby foods there is one or more metals. In exact figures, 94% have in their content lead, 75% cadmium, 73% arsenic and 32% mercury.
Foods that mostly contained heavy metals were fruit juices, rice-based foods, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
In the report commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) was stated the following:
“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.”
HBBF represents a group of scientists, organizations, and donors who have joined their forces to reduce children’s exposure to neurotoxins. Their research included 168 foods regularly consumed by babies and toddlers. Popular brands like Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best and Gerber were also included. These foods were tested on the presence of four toxic, heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead. The results of this report were appalling, namely one in four baby foods contains four metals, just none of 168 selected baby foods did not contain any metal.
The report stated the following: “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.”
The most toxic baby foods in this analysis were rice rusks, rice snacks, infant rice cereal, and teething biscuits.
What can arsenic do to the body?
This harmful metal is in fact a naturally occurring element in the Earth’s crust. It is present everywhere on the planet, in the air, soil, water and naturally in food. When it is in an inorganic form and in high levels, arsenic can be very toxic leading to terminal consequences.
Rise quickly absorbs the arsenic from the soil and water where it’s grown and because of that these products have the highest levels of arsenic. This grain is commonly grown in southern areas of USA where they are being sprayed with arsenic pesticides. The infant rice cereal is commonly given to babies as first solid food due to its mild flavor, content of iron and easy digestion.
The report lists root crops like carrots and sweet potatoes containing arsenic as these crops can also retain more arsenic from the soil.
According to previously conducted studies babies that have been exposed to low levels of arsenic show slow cognitive skills than their peers. A 2004 conducted study at the Columbia University in New York, involving Bangladeshi children who were exposed to arsenic in drinking water showed that these children did not score well on tests.
Foods that do not contain arsenic or they have only traces in them are oatmeal and multigrain cereals. Experts from this research suggest better alternative for the rice rusks used for teething like frozen banana or chilled cucumber. They add also puff snacks to be replaced with rice-free snacks, and in the case of fruit juices that contain arsenic and lead, the safest alternatives are water and milk.
Researchers appeal to the baby food companies to lower the content of heavy metals in their products by sourcing rice from fields with lower arsenic levels in soil.
FDA – Food and Drug Administration in the states have assisted the companies to lower the levels of metals in their foods, but according to researchers the levels are still high. The study author Jane Houlihan, a research director for Healthy Babies Better Futures, stated the following to CNN:
“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.”