A report from Consumer Reports says that concerning levels of heavy metals were found in 68 percent of all baby food tested.
According to Consumer Reports, 50 nationally distributed packaged baby and toddler foods were tested for cadmium, lead, mercury and inorganic arsenic.
Every product tested had measurable levels of at least one of the metals. Two-thirds had ‘worrisome’ levels of at least one of the heavy metals.
The study is consistent with tests performed in 2017 by the Clean Label Project.
Experts warn that heavy metals can affect a child’s motor skills, cognition, and heart as they’re growing.
In the Consumer Reports tests, products containing rice were most likely to contain worrisome levels of inorganic arsenic. Products like bars, cookies, crackers, crunches, crisps, puffs and rice husks were the most likely to be problematic.
While the presence of heavy metals in baby food is concerning, experts say it’s important to stay vigilant about bigger sources of lead poisoning in kids.
Crumbling, peeling paint in older homes is one of the nation’s biggest sources of lead exposure.
It’s an issue Dr. Aparna Bole always brings up when she sees patients at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
The pediatrician says the only safe amount of lead for children is zero.
“Lead can have an impact on the developing brain. It can have consequences later in life when it comes to issues around attention, behavior,” Dr. Bole explains.
Doctors discourage parents from worrying too much about lead in baby food.
“I certainly would not recommend avoiding entire food groups because of a concern about lead exposure. Root vegetables are a really healthy choice for babies,” Dr. Boles says.
Parents can make their own baby food, use local produce when possible and speak to their pediatricians about the best ways to avoid lead.