INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Toxic metals including lead and arsenic have been found in a variety of baby foods, according to a new report.
While the report published by Mississippi-based Healthy Babies, Bright Futures said even trace amounts can affect a child’s development, an Indianapolis doctor said this isn’t something to throw all your baby food out over.
Baby food buyers put trust in the maker that the product is safe and what’s in it is good for them.
“Vegetables? I don’t know,” Amy Lindley said. “I always bought Gerber. Name brand, I guess.”
According to the study, after testing 168 baby foods, particularly in rice-based foods, sweet potatoes and fruit juices, 95% had toxic materials including lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.
“Oh, my goodness!” Lindley said. “Oh, my God!”
Dr. Thomas Lock, an IU School of Medicine Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, said, “We live in an industrial society and those metals are everywhere.”
Lock said baby food may not the issue.
“Organic isn’t necessarily better because the food sources are contaminated themselves,” Lock said. “The problem is with rice paddies.”
The report said some foods had over 10 times the regulated level of lead and when those toxic metals are introduced to children they can raise chances of cancer and lower IQ.
“At these levels, that’s really unlikely,” Lock said.
To avoid issues, the report said, use alternatives to rice-based foods. Lock agreed but added consumers don’t need to stop using normal baby food.
“If we go overboard, then we’re at risk for causing more trouble,” Lock said. “If I avoid this and this and this and this, it gets down to then I have an imbalance and I’ll have a nutritional deficiency or I’ll have found something that they just didn’t find the contaminant in that they didn’t test for. Not getting everything from one source and keeping it balanced is really the best strategy for parents.”
Healthy Babies, Bright Futures is pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce exposure to metals in food. They said, in the meantime, babies should stick to oatmeal instead of rice-based foods, a frozen banana instead of teething crackers, and water or milk instead of juice.