Toxic heavy metals damaging to your baby’s brain development are likely in the baby food you are feeding your infant, according to a new investigation published Thursday.
New tests from 168 baby foods from major manufacturers found 95 percent contained lead, 73 percent contained arsenic, 75 percent contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury.
“Even in trace amounts, these chemicals found in food are linked to impaired brain development in children and “can erode a child’s IQ.”
The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats, according to the study.
The study tested 61 brands, from big names to niche brands.
Fifteen foods consumed by children under 2 years of age account for 55 percent of the risk to babies’ brains, according to a new study commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures.
The worse offenders were baby foods made with rice, sweet potatoes and fruit juices.
The negative brain impacts of these chemicals worsen with repeated exposure.
Physicians suggest pureed vegetables, salmon, peanut butter, oatmeal and avocado as safe baby foods.
They also say meats are better sources of nutrients than rice cereals.
WHAT PARENTS CAN DO
Puffs and other snacks made with rice flour contain arsenic, lead and cadmium at relatively high levels compared to other baby foods, according to the study.
Parents can reduce children’s exposures by choosing rice-free packaged snacks instead, which have 93 percent less toxic metal residues, on average.
Multi-grain snacks that include rice would also have lower levels than snacks containing rice as the only grain.
Other alternatives include soft-cooked, diced or mashed apples, applesauce (unsweetened), bananas, barley with diced vegetables, beans, cheese, grapes (cut lengthwise), hard-boiled eggs, peaches, and yogurt, that are rich in nutrients and low in metals, and that can be prepared and served.
Tests showed lower metals levels in non-rice snacks, including crackers, bars and yogurt snacks.
Teething biscuits and rice rusks often contain arsenic, lead, and cadmium. They also lack nutrients and can cause tooth decay, according to the report.
Doctors and dentists recommend soothing tooth pain with a frozen banana, a peeled and chilled cucumber, a clean, cold wet washcloth or spoon.
Healthcare officials advise parents to stay with their baby to watch for any choking, the study said.
Apple, pear, grape and other fruit juices contain traces of lead and arsenic, according to the study.
Tap water is a better drink for thirsty toddlers. Another alternative is whole or pureed fruits (like applesauce), which offer more fiber and nutrients than juice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises no fruit juice for children under 1 year of age, and half a cup or less daily for children under 3, according to the study.
AAP recommends that if you give a child fruit juice, it should be offered as part of a meal, not diluted with water and sipped over time, because of tooth decay risks.
Fruits and Vegetables
While carrots and sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A and other nutrients your baby needs, the study found that they also contain higher levels of lead and cadmium than other fruits and vegetables, on average.
The solution: parents can serve these vegetables along with other fruits and vegetables during the week, for benefits without the excess risk, officials said.