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Study: 95 percent of baby food contains traces of toxic metals

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Oct. 17 (UPI) — About 95 percent of baby food products contained traces of heavy metal, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, a new study released Thursday found.

The study, commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, an alliance of watchdog nonprofits concerning infants, called on the Food and Drug Administration to take immediate action on its findings.

The report said that in single containers, it found 94 percent contained lead, 75 percent contained cadmium, 73 percent contained arsenic and 32 percent had mercury. The study said 26 percent of products tested contained all four metals and 40 percent contained at least three of the metals.

“Arsenic, lead and other heavy metals are known causes of neurodevelopmental harm,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and director of the Global Public Health Program and Global Pollution Observatory at Boston College, said in a statement.

“Low-level exposures add up, and exposures in early life are especially dangerous. The cumulative impact of exposures is what makes this a significant concern that demands action,” Landigran added.

The study said that advocates have been testing baby food on a regular basis since 2011, and the FDA and other organizations formed the Baby Food Council in 2017 to help reduce toxic heavy metals in such foods.

“Despite the gains, 19 of every 20 baby foods tested had detectable levels of one or more heavy metals, according to new tests,” the study said. “Only a dramatically accelerated pace at FDA and the fruition of the new Baby Food Council’s pursuit of industrywide change will be enough to finally solve the problem.”

Jane Houlihan, HBBF’s research director and the study’s author, said while much more works need to be done, there has been some success.

“Current arsenic contamination levels in rice cereal and juice are 36 percent and 75 percent less, respectively, than the amounts measured a decade ago,” Houlihan said. “When FDA acts, companies respond. We need the FDA to use their authority more effectively, and much more quickly, to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby foods.”

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