There is a strong chance that your baby’s food may contain traces of lethal heavy metals, which include lead and arsenic, according to recent research. The study, commissioned by the Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) & outlined in a report released recently, tested 168 baby food products with the presence of four heavy metals: lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. They found that 90% of the baby foods were infected by at least one of the heavy metals, and one in four of the baby food products tested contained all four of the heavy metals. Only nine of the 168 baby foods tested did not contain traces of the four metals.
Among the maximum-risk foods are rice-based products as well as fruit juices, which includes rice cereals and puff snacks, since rice is particularly helpful at absorbing arsenic, a known pesticide, as it grows. Four of seven infant rice cereals, which were tested, contained inorganic arsenic, which is the more poisonous form of the metal, in levels exceeding the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed limit of 100 parts per billion. Sweet carrots and potatoes are also big culprits since they are root crops. The foods tested spanned around 61 brands and 14 types of food, including infant formula, cereals, teething biscuits, and fruit juices.
Among the metals, lead was the terrible offender, appearing in 93 % of the baby foods tested. Arsenic and cadmium followed, showing up in about three-quarters of the baby foods tested, and mercury was the least, found in just under one-third of the baby foods products tested. All of the metals, apart from mercury, are known or likely human carcinogens. They are naturally occurring elements as well as their frequent utilization in pesticides in the last century means they still stay in the soil and find their way in groundwater even after decades; some of them have been banned from usage in pesticides. Metals that are neurotoxic pose serious threats to the development of the brain in childhood.
Parents can go for non-rice cereals or rice-free snacks, such as multi-grain cereals and oatmeals, to cut back on one source of heavy metal exposure. Ensuring kids eat a mixture of vegetables beyond the common carrot purees and sweet potato also helps, and swapping teething biscuits for frozen bananas can make a huge difference. HBBF stated that alternatives like these have around 85% lower levels of the metals, on average, than the riskier food items.