A national investigation commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) recently made a disturbing finding. A shocking 95% of baby foods tested contained the heavy metals lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury.1
I have often written about how most commercial infant formulas are high in processed sugar and questionable ingredients including soy. They can contain as much sugar as a can of soda yet lack the benefits of the natural sugars found in breast milk.
Worse, most formulas also contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), synthetic vitamins, inorganic minerals, excessive protein and harmful fats while lacking vital immune-boosting nutrients found in breast milk.
Still, the new findings about poisons like heavy metals lurking in baby food add urgency to the problem and raise questions about how parents can safely feed their infants.
Disturbing Findings About Baby Food
Parent volunteers working with HBBF’s partner organizations were asked to buy the most prominent baby food brands at their local stores or online.
The organizations the parents worked with were the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Campaign for Healthier Solutions, Coming Clean, Ecology Center, Environmental Justice Health Alliance, Getting Ready for Baby, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Organizacion en California de Lideres Campesinas Inc., and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services.2
The foods selected by the parents included 61 brands and 13 food types, including infant formula, teething biscuits, cereals and fruit juices. The results were staggering. Lead was found in 94% of the baby foods; cadmium and arsenic in approximately 75% of the items; and mercury in just under 33% of the products.
Fifteen of the baby foods accounted for 55% of the heavy metal contaminants. These included apple and grape juice, oat ring cereal, macaroni and cheese, puff snacks and rice-based foods. Rice foods such as cereal and rice-based snacks account for one-fifth of the risks babies face, as these foods have high levels of arsenic, as well as the other three metals, HBBF says.3
Contaminants Threaten Babies’ IQs
The presence of heavy metals in baby food has been known for a decade, but the HBBF’s study sheds new light on just how widespread the contamination is, and the specific risks babies and toddlers may face from such foods, especially to their IQs. An excerpt from the report reads:4
“The four heavy metals we found in baby food have a unique significance. All are developmental neurotoxins … They can harm a baby’s developing brain and nervous system, both in utero and after birth, for impacts that include the permanent loss of intellectual capacity and behavioral problems like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
All four metals are linked to IQ loss from exposures early in life. The scientific evidence spans decades and continues to build: at least 23 studies published in the past seven years confirm these four heavy metals’ impacts to a child’s healthy development …
These metals are so prevalent in foods eaten by babies and toddlers that every child could be exposed daily to all three of the most common heavy metals detected in food — lead, arsenic, and cadmium — based on an analysis of federal surveys of children’s dietary patterns and heavy metals levels in food …”
Rocket Fuel Component Also Found in Baby Food
Heavy metals are not the only IQ-lowering substances found in baby food, according to HBBF. The industrial chemical perchlorate, a rocket fuel component, was also detected, and this dangerous substance adds to the cognitive risks posed by heavy metals, HBBF says:5…
The metals are probably synergistically toxic, as aluminum and mercury have been found to be.