(Naturalhealth365) We take it for granted that baby food – featuring such inoffensive fare as pureed peaches, mashed bananas, and oatmeal with apples – is ‘nutritious, wholesome and safe.’ And the labeling, which may include the marketing terms “pure,” “all natural,” and “organic,” reinforces that conviction.
But, according to a shocking new study conducted by a non-profit watchdog group, arsenic, mercury, lead and other toxins are on the menu for unsuspecting parents and their children, as well. And, today, in this special report – we intend to expose the truth about the contaminants lurking in over 50 percent of commercially-available baby food and infant formula.
Study evaluated hundreds of best-selling baby food products
The 2017 Infant Formula and Baby Food study was conducted by the Clean Label Project (CLP), a non-profit group dedicated to truth and clarity in labeling.
The group reports that the scientific study – the most comprehensive investigation ever performed on baby foods – involved over 60 brands and 500 different products.
Researchers measured the levels of over 130 different environmental and industrial contaminants, including heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. They also looked into BPAs (bisphenol-a), antibiotic and pesticide residues, acrylamides and mycotoxins.
The study utilizes a 5-star rating system that shows each product’s relative level of contamination. There is also an overall “report card” for each brand.
Jaclyn Bowen, M.P.H., M.S., executive director of the Clean Label Project, says she wants the study to be a “wakeup call” for both companies and parents. Bowen points out that there is a “tremendous gradient,” in terms of purity, between top and bottom performing products – and she urges parents to spread the word.
Click this link to view ratings for hundreds of best-selling baby food products and brands.
Study: Baby foods and infant formulas are laced with arsenic and lead
According to the CLP, a staggering 65 percent of infant formula samples tested positive for arsenic. Arsenic exposure has been associated with cancers of the lungs and skin, as well as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
(Alert: Some of the worst culprits were rice-based foods such as rice puffs, which contained, on average, a shocking five times as much arsenic as other baby snacks.)
And over a third – 36 percent – of the baby foods and infant formulas had detectable levels of lead.
Lead, in toxic amounts, can cause cognitive deficits, behavioral changes, lowered IQ and anemia – with research showing that elevated lead levels are found in children with autism and ADHD. And, experts say that even trace levels of mercury and lead can have lasting effects on developing brains.
The CLP acknowledged that none of the samples exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowable levels of lead. However, there is no “safe level” for lead, and The American Academy of Pediatrics has asked the FDA to change their standards to reflect that fact.
(And here’s a kicker: the study found that, in general, baby foods and infant formulas contained more lead than adult foods. In other words, those of us most susceptible to harm from heavy metals are receiving the highest doses!)
Study revealed an abundance of other toxins
It is not only arsenic and lead that exist in detectable amounts in baby foods. A witches’ brew of other toxins, including mercury, was found as well. Mercury exposure causes oxidative damage, while inactivating natural protective antioxidants. This neurotoxin has been linked with tremors, loss of coordination and kidney failure.
58 percent of the products contained cadmium – a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke. In addition to potentially triggering cancer, cadmium can lead to decreased bone mineralization.
(Warning: Soy-based infant formulas were found to contain an average of seven times more cadmium than other formulas.)
And, an outrageous 60 percent of baby food products claiming to be “free of BPA” actually turned out to contain this chemical. BPA is a proven endocrine disruptor that can also deplete the body’s stores of vitamin D.
Finally, the scientists found that close to one third of the products tested exceeded at least one state or regulatory safety limit – an unacceptable finding.
“Organic” labeling no guarantee of safety or purity
The infuriating truth: even commercial baby foods labeled as “certified organic” or “all natural” can still contain arsenic and lead. Natural health experts say that organic foods may be sourced from China – raising the odds that they are contaminated.
Of course – because of naturally occurring metals in the environment – no food product can be 100 percent free of unwanted contaminants. But, says Bowen, “the fewer industrial and environmental toxins and contaminants, the better.”
To keep contaminants to a minimum, you could try creating your own homemade baby food – using organic locally grown produce and a food processor. Experienced DIY baby food aficionados recommend freezing the baby food overnight in ice cube trays, then defrosting as needed.
While preparing homemade baby food can be a little more time-consuming than buying it off the shelf, it can also be more economical. Plus – and more importantly – you’ll have the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what is on that spoon heading straight for your baby’s mouth.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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