An analysis of 168 different containers of baby food sold in the United States found that 95% of the samples contained toxic heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Lead was present in 95% of the samples that were tested, while 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium, and 32% contained mercury. Twenty-six percent of the products tested contained all four metals. Only nine of the tested items did not have any of the heavy metals present.
The report says that 83% of the samples contained more than one part-per-billion of lead and roughly 20% of the samples contained more than ten times that amount.
"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," the report, which was commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, said.
Healthy Babies Bright Futures is calling on the FDA to further investigate the amount of heavy metals found in baby and is asking the agency to enact federal standards on the maximum safe levels of heavy metals in baby food.
"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," said study author Jane Houlihan, Research Director for Healthy Babies Better Futures, in a statement.
For now, parents should avoid rice-based foods because they were the most likely to contain heavy metals. Instead of buying rice-based products, they suggest buying oatmeal and multigrain cereals.
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