Baby Food Containing Heavy Metals? What New Parents Should Know

(Last Updated On: December 22, 2023)

Baby food containing heavy metals. Parents want the best for their children. Vital nutrients and minerals are essential for brain development.

Nutrients affect growth when infants start to eat solid food.

A subcommittee from the U.S. Congress published a report on February 4, 2021. It describes how some baby foods contain toxic heavy metals.

Common toxic heavy metals are arsenic and lead. This is because even small amounts of heavy metals can cause brain damage in children.

These heavy metals are being removed from baby food products by the FDA. Avoiding certain baby foods can help you to prevent taking toxic food.

Moreover, it keeps your baby safe from heavy metals. Here are some tips to help you choose safe foods for your baby.

Baby Food Contains Detectable Amounts Of Heavy Metals.

According to a study, healthy Babies, Bright Futures (HBBF) is a group that advocates for children’s health. It conducted a study on more than 150 foods. It found that 95% of the products tested had detectable levels.

The study found that commercial baby food products contained high levels of lead. Furthermore, cadmium and inorganic arsenic are also present.

This was also to other foods young children use—infant formula, teething biscuits, and cereals.

The study stated that parents could not avoid these exposures. Because by buying organic food or switching from store-bought brands of baby foods to homemade purees, they get toxic heavy metals. These elements are common in many foods.

The study suggested various steps that the government and food producers can take to address this issue. The study also provided simple steps parents can take to reduce exposure.

HBBF is a member of the Baby Food Council. This broad-based group includes food companies, academics, government and NGO partners, and advisors.

Discover the purity and excellence of HIPP baby formula, a wholesome choice for your little one’s well-being.

Baby food containing heavy metals

This Council aims to lower the levels of heavy metals in children’s foods. The main motive is lower to a level as low as possible using best-in-class management techniques.

Initial efforts focused on identifying food and ingredients. These materials may expose to heavy metals.

In the beginning, the Council will focus its attention on the environment. Heavy metals can be found in soil and water. So, it could become part of food as they grow.

The Council includes Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Plum Organics) and Campbell Soup Company (Plum Organics).

Moreover, Cornell University and Environmental Defense Fund are also included Gerber Products Company.

The Hain Celestial Group, Happy Family Organics, Healthy Babies, Bright Futures. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are technical advisors.

Congressional Investigation Uncovered the Most Alarming Findings of Heavy Metals in Babies’ Food.

It is important to note that no baby food manufacturer adds toxic heavy metals to their products. Because the crops absorb heavy metals from the soil, water, and air, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury contamination can occur.

However, the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that baby food is safe. This means that heavy metals in baby food are below the safe limit.

Understanding the safe limits of heavy metals is essential before listing the most troubling findings. The maximum limit for arsenic should be in baby food at ten ppb.

For cadmium, it should be five ppb. For lead, it is five respectively. Mercury, however, should not exceed two ppb. Here are some shocking results from the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy.

Beech-Nut used ingredients that contained more than 340 ppb of cadmium.

Hain Celestial Group would allow baby foods with 352 ppb of lead to market.

Baby food made with 913ppb arsenic by Beech-Nut ingredients.

Nurture would sell products containing 10ppb mercury.

Seven baby food companies were initially invited to join the investigation. Gerber, Hain Celestial Group, and Nurture agreed to share internal documents and procedures. However, Walmart, Campbell, Sprout Organic Foods, and Walmart refused to cooperate with the researchers.

Read More: What to Do with Expired Baby Formula

What Happens to My Baby If He Eats Heavy Metal-Laden Food?

Zinc, copper, magnesium, and iron are essential for nerves and other cell functions. These metals are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies.

The body does not need heavy toxic metals like arsenic and mercury. They can cause harmful effects even at low levels.

This is a severe public health problem because young brains are especially vulnerable to toxic substances.

Children are more minor than adults, so heavy metal contamination can significantly impact them more than adults.

Brain diseases that affect children, such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are common. Over the past 20 years, ADHD has become more common.

Baby food containing heavy metals

However, genetics and diagnostics are essential factors in the increase in ADHD. There is evidence that heavy metals could also play a role.

Heavy metal exposures to arsenic and lead, cadmium, and mercury are linked to:

  • Lower IQ scores.
  • Learning and behavior problems.
  • Autistic behavior.

How Can Heavy Metals Be Absorbed Into Food?

Metals can be found in the Earth’s crust naturally. They can also be released into the environment as pollution. They can get into the soil and water used to grow food.

Food manufacturing and food packaging can also lead to metals getting into food. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (USFDA), the most common metals entering food are inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.

Are Organic Baby Foods High In Heavy Metals?

Organic baby foods don’t always have the best quality. This is because many organic baby foods contain brown rice. Arsenic is naturally found in many rice plants, with brown rice having more than white rice.

We have learned a lot about the problems of rice arsenic over the years. The FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend restricting babies from eating rice.

What Is The FDA Doing For Baby Food Safety?

With their Closer to Zero plan, the FDA is working to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby food products. The FDA is also:

  • New standards for safety in baby food and testing requirements.
  • Collaboration with the food industry to lower heavy metal levels in baby foods.
  • Evaluation of Congress’s recommendations for adding heavy metals onto food labels.
  • Public access to their findings.
  • Safest food choices for your baby.

Simple Ways Parents Can Reduce the Heavy Metals Their Baby Is Exposed To

Purees

By making puree from your favorite foods, you can make baby food. Making your food doesn’t guarantee your child won’t be exposed to heavy metals.

Heavy metals can also be found in other food chains, including baby food. It is best to offer a variety of fruits and veggies, limiting the chance of repeated exposure.

Avoid rice flour and white and brown rice.

Also, avoid snacks made from rice and rice-based foods and rice flour.

Rice absorbs arsenic more as it grows than other grains like wheat, oats, and bran. A baby’s exposure to arsenic can be reduced by limiting the amount of rice they eat.

Here Are Some Simple Changes Parents Can Make:

Instead of Using Rice-Based Tethers,

try using a chilled banana or cucumber.

  • You can use oatmeal, quinoa, or barley-based infant cereals instead of rice cereal.
  • Choose a bowl of rice with a lower natural arsenic level, such as sushi and basmati rice.
  • Try yogurts, cheeses, and soft fruits instead of rice-based snacks like puffs.
  • Avoid sweet potatoes and carrots.

Sweet potatoes and carrots are root vegetables that absorb more heavy metals. These root vegetables are a good source of nutrients and fiber.

So you shouldn’t cut them out completely. You should offer a variety of fruits and vegetables to your child. Also, be aware of baby foods that include sweet potatoes and carrots in their ingredients.

Use Water Instead of Juice.

Juice is a favorite among children because it tastes great. Consumer Reports discovered that many juices in retail stores contained arsenic, lead, and mercury.

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children avoid juice in their first year of life.

The high sugar content can add unnecessary calories and lead to more cavities. Juices are high in heavy metals, which is another reason to adhere to this recommendation.

Check labels

Pay attention to food labels for rice, rice flour, and added ingredients like sweet potatoes. Do not give your child too many of these ingredients. These ingredients may not appear in the list of the first ingredient.

Do I Need to Have My Baby Tested for Heavy Metals?

It is not recommended to test for heavy metals. They can be challenging to interpret because they don’t have set reference levels like other laboratory tests, blood, hair, and nail tests for heavy elements.

Children are the only exception to heavy metal screening. The AAP recommends testing children aged 12-24 months for lead. Lead has been shown to have toxic effects even at low levels.

Baby food containing heavy metals

Talk to your pediatrician.

Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about the presence of heavy metals in baby foods.

Parents can talk to their regional Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unified (PEHSU) staff if they have concerns about environmental toxins.

Ask Your Pediatrician: Can I Make My Baby’s Food from Scratch?

What should parents know about food additives?

Is homemade baby formula safe?

Environmental Pediatricians advise parents about heavy metals in baby food and fruit juice.

Final Word

Autism will affect one in 44 children born after 2010. The incidence has increased by almost 1% since 2007.

Autism is likely to result from the high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food. Parents should be educated, keep up-to-date with current news, and make informed decisions about the food they give their children.

Read More: Does Foam in Formula Cause Gas?

FAQs

Are all baby foods made with heavy metals?

Many baby food products tested by Congress came from companies that declared their ingredients or foods organic. Organic products may contain fewer pesticides but still contain heavy metals, depending on where they were grown.

Is homemade baby food contaminated with heavy metals?

Products we buy contain heavy metals, so homemade baby food won’t be able to eliminate them from your baby’s diet. The AAP suggests making your baby’s baby food at home to reduce the risk of heavy metals getting into baby food through food manufacturing and packaging.

Do I need to be concerned about heavy metals in baby foods?

Heavy metals can harm my baby in baby foods. Baby foods containing low levels of heavy metals are likely a small portion of the child’s total toxic metal exposure risk.

But, it is essential to limit exposure from all sources. The developing brain can be affected by toxic metal exposure.

Are there any baby foods that don’t contain heavy metals?

Gerber Good Start Gentle HM -O and Probiotics Infant Formula With Iron (Stage 1) is the baby formula with the lowest Lead or Cadmium levels. Baby’s only organic, non-GMO dairy toddler formula is the runner-up.

Is Gerber baby food high in heavy metals?

High levels of toxic metals are found in Gerber foods. A report by the U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee in February 2021 found that baby food products of several notable brands contained high levels of toxic heavy metals.

Are baby purees contaminated with heavy metals?

The US House Committee on Oversight and Reform has reported that baby food products are contaminated with high levels of mercury, arsenic, and lead.

Are metals in baby foods a cause of autism?

Both toxic heavy metal poisoning symptoms and autism symptoms are very similar. Many doctors believe that early neurotoxic metal poisoning in baby foods, including mercury, lead, and cadmium, can contribute to a child’s autism.

Why are baby foods contaminated with heavy metals?

Many heavy metals exist on Earth, including mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. This can lead to food and water absorption. Most heavy metals in food come from soil or water polluted by farming.

Which foods are high in heavy metals?

These are the most common foods containing heavy metals

  • Fishes: All fish contain some mercury.
  • Brown rice: Brown rice can contain up to 80% more arsenic per cup than white rice.
  • Leafy green vegetables: You should eat your vegetables, but not too many.

What fruits are rich in heavy metals?

Mango, mango, mango, spinach, bananas, mango, and mango were found to have the highest levels of Pb and Zn. These metal levels were compared to those found in similar fruits and vegetables from other parts of the globe.

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