Parents are warned about the dangers of lead and other toxins for babies and young children. That’s why it’s so concerning when it shows up in their food and drink.
Exposure to contaminants such as cadmium can affect your child’s brain, cognitive skills, immune system, and more. A new study released by the non-profit group, Clean Label Project, tested over 500 baby food products that contain traces of acrylamide, lead, arsenic, cadmium, or BPA.
According to NIH, babies are particularly susceptible to the dangers of heavy metals like lead and cadmium. Lead has been shown to cause brain damage, low IQ, developmental disabilities, and an impaired nervous system.
In addition to being poisonous to the kidneys, bones, reproductive, and respiratory system, cadmium is also classified as a carcinogen. It’s commonly found in the earth and batteries.
And BPA? The chemical Bisphenol-A is commonly found in plastic and is connected to a number of health issues, including heart, fertility, and endocrine system problems.
Acrylamide and arsenic can be introduced into the body through food or drinking water. With acrylamide, symptoms typically affect the nervous system and skin. Arsenic toxicity can be sneaky, but affects the organs and is also a carcinogen.
Here are the stats for the items tested by the Clean Label Project:
10% tested positive for acrylamide
36% tested positive for lead
58% tested positive for cadmium
65% tested positive for arsenic
60% of products with a “BPA-Free” claim tested positive
Out of the 86 baby formula products the group tested, these were in the bottom five:
- Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme Natural Vanilla Organically Grown Rice Dietary Supplement
- Abbott EleCare Hypoallergenic Amino Acid Based Powder infant Formula with Iron
- Enfamil Reguline Milk-based Powder with Iron Infant Formula
- Happy Tot Grow & Shine Organic Toddler Milk Drink
- Comforts for Toddler Stage 2 – Toddler Beginnings Milk Based Powder Infant Formula with Iron
105 jars of baby food were sampled, and here are the bottom five:
- Gerber 3rd Foods Banana Apple Strawberry with Lil’ Bits
- O Organics Stage 2- Organic Pears Baby Food
- NurturMe Squash, Banana and Green Kale Organic Dried Baby Food
- NurturMe Carrots, Raisins and Sweet Potatoes Organic Dried Baby Food
- Gerber 3rd Foods Mixed Carrots, Corn and Butternut Squash with Lil’ Bits
Of 138 baby food pouches tested, these made the bottom five list:
- Plum Organics Stage 2 Apple & Carrot Organic Baby Food
- Gerber Graduates- Grabbers Apple & Sweet Potato with Cinnamon Squeezable Fruit & Veggies
- Earth’s Best Stage 2- Organic Apple Raisin Flax & Oat Wholesome Breakfast
- Parent’s Choice 2nd Stage Banana, Pear, Mango & Orange Organic Baby Food
- Mom to Mom Stage 2 Butternut Squash & Pear Baby Food
138 toddler snacks were also tested, and these are the bottom five:
- Happy Baby Organic Teethers Sweet Potato and Banana Gentle Teething Wafers
- Parent’s Choice Little Puffs Blueberry Cereal Snack
- Little Duck Organics Strawberry & Beet Fig Bars
- Nosh! Baby Munchables Pomegranate and Blueberry Organic Teething Wafers
- Gerber Graduates Lil’ Biscuits Vanilla Wheat Biscuits
To hear more about what researchers discovered, click on the clip below. For the complete list of infant and toddler foods that were a part of this study, visit the group’s website, Clean Label Project. You will also find a list of recommended baby formulas, juices, foods, and snacks.
Back in 2012, a study of fruit juices was conducted by Consumer Reports to test levels of arsenic. Parents were alarmed after being informed that the FDA has no set safety limit for arsenic exposure in children.
The same goes for lead. While the FDA is aware of its dangers, the agency also points out that the metal is found in the environment and can’t be removed from the food supply. Therefore, there are no labeling measures in place for this and other contaminants.
The Clean Label Project is an advocacy group that works to create better transparency in product labeling. In cases like these, your health and that of your family’s may require a little more diligence. If you’re concerned about your child’s exposure to these contaminants, speak with your pediatrician.
What are your thoughts on this study and labeling standards? Do you have any of these products in your home?