toxic heavy metals

Pregnancy and Baby

A recent study from Consumer Reports found toxic heavy metals in popular brands of baby food, including Earth’s Best and Gerber. In many cases, levels were high enough to cause significant long-term damage to your baby.

How High Is High?

According to James Dickerson, lead author of the study, “Two-thirds of the tested foods didn’t just have heavy metals in them but had a very large trace of heavy metals.” Yikes! Researchers took samples from 50 different packaged baby foods.

They estimated how often the average child would eat the food and compared that to medical data about toxic heavy metal consumption. They found that 15 of the 50 products could be a serious health risk at a rate of just one serving per day.

Which Foods Were The Worst

Products containing sweet potatoes and rice were the worst. Sweet potatoes are tuber vegetables that grow immersed in the soil. Rice grows immersed in water. When the surrounding environment is toxic, they soak it up.

Heavy metals come from polluted water runoff that gets into the ground. Pesticides and even gasoline can seep into the soil. Organic and inorganic foods were equally likely to be toxic.

Babies Are Sponges

The risk of long-term effects from heavy metal consumption is worse in children under four years old. They soak up toxins like sponges at a time when their bodies and brains are most susceptible. The effects of heavy metals might not make your child sick today or tomorrow, but they can be a risk factor later on.

Dickerson is concerned that “if you feed your child food with high levels of heavy metals, over the lifetime of their development, particularly during birth to four-years-old, then you will have an increased risk of having cancer.” The FDA is still deciding exactly how much toxic heavy metals to allow in baby food. Dickerson thinks that heavy metals shouldn’t be allowed in baby food at all. Even trace amounts can cause significant damage.