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Troubling Study Finds 95% Of Tested Baby Foods Contain Toxic Metals

caitlyn.clancey 17 Oct 2019

A recent test of baby foods from major U.S. manufacturers has found that 95% contained toxic metals, which can have a damaging effect on your baby's brain development.

According to the investigation, which was published on Thursday, these troubling results are cause for concern because babies are more sensitive to the toxic metal's impacts.

A total of 168 baby foods from major American manufacturers were tested as part of the study.

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Of those products, 95% were found to contain lead, 73% contained arsenic, 75% contained cadmium and 32% contained mercury. In total, one-fourth of the foods contained all four heavy metals.

Even more troubling, 20% of the products had more than 10 times the maximum lead level endorsed by public health advocates, which is 1 part per billion.

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The investigation was conducted by Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, a group of nonprofit and scientific organizations.

Happy Babies, Brighter Futures

Such brands as Gerber and Enfamil were included in the study, which looked at a variety of different food types, ranging from teething biscuits to fruit juices.

"Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child's IQ," the report reads. "The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats."

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The most toxic baby products were rice-based foods, like cereal, rice dishes, and rice snacks for infants.

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"These popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals," the report reads.

Since rice is grown in water, it is incredibly good at soaking up inorganic arsenic, which is the most toxic version of the natural element found in soil, water, and air.

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Following close behind these rice-based foods were fruit juices and sweet potatoes, both of which were also found to pose the biggest dangers of neuro-toxic harm.

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Study author and Healthy Babies research director Jane Houlihan said urgent action is needed by both major baby food companies as well as the FDA. While there have been investigations to reduce arsenic exposure, it's still much too high.

"When FDA acts, companies respond," she said in a statement. "We need the FDA to use their authority more effectively, and much more quickly, to reduce toxic metals in bay foods."

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For now, parents are asked to consider switching to safer food alternatives for their babies to reduce their risk of exposure.

Healthy Babies, Brighter Futures

As seen in the table above, experts suggest opting for infant cereals low in arsenic, like multi-grain and oatmeal, as well as avoiding rice-based foods altogether.

They also suggest ditching juices and providing your babies with milk or water instead.

Check out the full investigation here to see how else you can ensure your giving your baby the best products possible to help encourage their brain development, rather than alter it.

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