Kids Health

Baby Food May Contain Heavy Metals Inside (New Report)

A new report informs about the dangerously high amount of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury inside a number of commercial baby food brands. These amounts are way above the safety level for young children, arising questions on the use of baby foods.

Seven food companies were asked to submit independent reports and documentary evidence on their product, after a previous report in 2019 found 96% of all baby foods to contain heavy metals inside (at least one). It was especially true for the foods which used rice or contained root/fibrous veggies inside for example sweet potatoes, yams, or carrots. These results imply that parents should be more concerned about choosing a baby food brand for their child, making sure that he is least exposed to heavy metals.

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Not many people are sure about how heavy metals end up inside baby foods. Heavy metals are a normal part of our surroundings and it is possible to get exposed to them, even without using baby foods. For example, burning coal emits heavy metals, gasoline, glazes, and paints contain lead, which is a heavy metal. Many pesticides contain lead as well as arsenic inside although many of them are banned. But there are many ways through which heavy metals could enter the human body.

Any food source that is grown in soil that is rich in heavy metal will yield heavy metal-infused fruits and veggies. Plus, inadequate or substandard manufacturing and packaging plants may further add more heavy metals to these products.

According to the World Health Organization and the U.S Food and Drug Administration  (FDA), there are some tolerable levels of heavy metals. But a daily intake of these tolerable levels may also lead to long-term side effects. Lead is a heavy metal and FDA approves products that contain less than 3 micrograms of lead in daily intake for children and 12.5 in adults.

As babies have smaller bodies as compared to adults, they respond differently to these heavy metals which reach their bodies from baby foods and other sources. It cant be stored inside bones and accumulate in the blood, causing extreme complications. During the early years of life, this exposure to heavy metals can cause severe neurological damages too.

The amount of heavy metal values is different in different types of foods and different food companies, which is why parents can somehow reduce the exposure to heavy metals. For example, limiting the use of rice-based baby foods such as biscuits, cereal, and puffed rice, oat-based foods, barley, and quinoa-rich foods should be avoided.  These foods contain up to 84% arsenic and 64% total heavy metals inside according to the new study conducted by Healthy Babies Bright Futures.

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Parents should never give fruit juices to their younger ones because of the excessively high sugar content and heavy metals inside. Replacing juice with sugar lowers the exposure to heavy metals by 68%, as to this new report.

It is better to use a moderate amount of root veggies and other stems/fruit-based veggies. The root veggies have the closest contact to the soil for which they may have the highest amount of heavy metals than all other veggies. Replacing root-based veggies with other alternatives may lower the heavy metal exposure by  73%.

US government remarkably brought down the exposure to heavy metals during the last few decades. With more focus on baby foods, that may possibly contain insane levels of heavy metals inside, it can further save people from heavy metal toxicity.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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