By Barry Eitel
Many popular baby foods sold throughout the United States contain “worrisome” amounts of heavy metals, a new study by Consumer Reports magazine released Thursday states.
The study found that every single one of the 50 nationally distributed baby foods tested contained measurable amounts of heavy metals.
Heavy metals include cadmium, lead, mercury and inorganic arsenic. These metals can cause harm to humans and can be especially dangerous for the mental development of young children.
“Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable due to their smaller size and developing brains and organ systems,” James Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports, said in a statement. “They also absorb more of the heavy metals that get into their bodies than adults do.”
Of the baby foods tested, 68 percent had “worrisome” amounts of at least one type of heavy metal. About 30 percent would pose potential health risks if just one serving or less was fed to a baby each day, according to Consumer Reports.
Exposure to the heavy metals does not necessarily result in health issues, but it increases the risk of problems, especially with repeated exposure.
Consumer Reports tested baby cereals, jarred vegetables, packaged entrees and baby snacks like cookies. Most of the products were created by the two biggest baby food companies in the U.S., Gerber
Consumer advocates like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) said the Food and Drug Administration needs to take action based
“While the effects of exposure to a heavy metal in a single food may not affect a child, what is concerning is the cumulative impact of exposure to low levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and lead from all food in the diet,” Tom Neltner, EDF Health’s Chemicals Policy Director, said in a statement. “Protecting children’s ability to learn and thrive demands that we drive down exposure to heavy metals from all sources – including food.”