95 percent of baby foods tested had toxic metals, study finds

95 percent of baby foods tested had toxic metals, study finds
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A test of 168 baby foods from major manufacturers found 95 percent contained toxic metals, according to an investigation published Thursday.

The test found 95 percent of baby foods contained lead, while 73 percent contained arsenic, 75 percent contained cadmium and 32 percent contained mercury, with a quarter containing all four. Twenty percent had more than 10 times the maximum lead level endorsed by public health advocates, which is 1 part per billion.

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The report was compiled by Health Babies, Bright Futures, a coalition of nonprofit and scientific organizations, and echoes the results of a similar study by the Food and Drugs Organization finding at least one of the same metals in 33 of 39 types of food tested.

"Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child's IQ. The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats," the report states. “Despite the risks, with few exceptions there are no specific limits for toxic heavy metals in baby food.”

Rice-based products, fruit juices and sweet potatoes were found to be the products with the biggest danger of neurotoxic harm.

“Arsenic, lead and other heavy metals are known causes of neurodevelopmental harm,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, a pediatrician and director of the Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good in the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society 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,” Landrigan added.