Study Finds Arsenic, Lead in Popular Baby Foods

Do you believe that your baby is ready for solid foods, and you are thinking of introducing baby foods to your infant? Well, a new study may make you think again.

The study by the Clean Label Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for food label transparency, has discovered that a majority of baby foods contain arsenic and other harmful chemicals.

The alarming findings came after an investigation of 530 baby food products from 60 big name brands. The baby food items including baby foods, infant formulas, toddler drinks and snacks, sold within the past 5 months, were screened for hundreds of toxic chemicals, including heavy metals, BPA, pesticides and other contaminants. The findings showed that 65 percent of the baby foods were tested positive for the dangerous chemical element arsenic.

In addition to the arsenic contamination, other harmful chemicals like lead and bisphenol A (BPA) were also found in baby food products, the study showed.

According to the Clean Label Project, 65 percent of baby foods tested positive for arsenic contamination, 35 percent of baby products contained lead, 58 percent items contained cadmium, and 10 percent products contained acrylamide. All of these toxic chemical compounds can affect fine motor skills and cognition in the toddlers and pose potential dangers to developing babies.

Shockingly, major brands such as Gerber, Enfamil, Plum Organics, Healthy Times, Organix, Earth’s Best, Parent’s Choice and Sprout were among the worst offenders, while rice-based baby food such as snack puffs contained the highest amount of arsenic, the Clean Label Project study report showed.

“It is important for consumers to understand that some contaminants, such as heavy metals like lead or arsenic, are in the environment and cannot simply be removed from food,” Peter Cassell, a spokesman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told a leading website.

Jaclyn Bowen, executive director of the Denver-based nonprofit Clean Label Project and a food safety scientist, said she hopes the alarming findings would help parents choose the best healthy baby foods for their babies.

“The baby industry needs to do a better job in protecting America’s most vulnerable population,” Bowen said.

Meanwhile, baby food maker Gerber has blamed the study for creating “unnecessary alarm.”

“We want to reassure parents that the health and safety of babies is our number one priority, which is why we never compromise on the quality of our formulas and foods for babies and toddlers. All Gerber foods meet or exceed U.S. government standards for quality and safety. We also have our own strict standards and our Clean Field Farming practices that go even further,” the company said.

It is important to note here that the nonprofit did not publish its findings in a peer-reviewed journal, which means its methods and authenticity have not been examined by outside scientists.