Potential threats to child brain health: Daily exposure to heavy metals in baby food could build up over time

Baby foods are laced with trace amounts of toxic heavy metals that can build up over time through daily exposure and impair children’s brain health, reported the consumer advocacy group Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF).

The organization found that 95 percent of nearly 170 commercial baby foods contained lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium, with one in four products containing all four of these toxic heavy metals. The top offenders included rice-based cereals and snacks, fruit juices and sweet potatoes.

The researchers said that even small amounts of these heavy metals can alter the developing child’s brain: “The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.” The toxic elements can also cause attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, and three metals – arsenic, cadmium and lead – are categorized as carcinogens, added the researchers.

Heavy metals found in popular baby food brands

The researchers tested 13 types of baby foods – including infant formula, teething biscuits, cereals and fruit juices – from 61 brands selected mainly by parents who volunteered through HBBF’s allied organizations. The parents bought foods from the most popular baby food brands at their local stores and online.

Lead was the most common of the four contaminants, appearing in 94 percent of the baby foods. It was followed by cadmium and arsenic, which showed up in around three-quarters of the baby foods, and then mercury, which was found in around one-third of the infant products….

https://science.news/2020-11-25-heavy-metals-in-baby-food-a-threat.html

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