Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– When you pull out a spoon and pop open a lid, do you ever think about what’s in your baby’s food? Well, you might now.
According to healthybabyfood.org, in a study of 168 baby foods, 95 percent contained toxic heavy metals including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
“I think that people think if something’s sold in the store it’s safe, especially with foods,” Courtney Carignan, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University said.
According to the study, trace amounts of these metals can lower IQs of babies, with impacts adding up the more meals and snacks the baby eats.
“These levels are not a poisoning concern. This issue here is that even low levels of exposure to these metals can have small but measurable impacts on brain development. Those effects can be important at the population level,” added Carignan.
The study tested 13 different foods under 61 different brand names. Of all containers tested, 8 percent contained one metal, 21 percent contained at least two metals, 40 percent contained three, and 26 percent had traces of all four metals.
The most common of the metals was lead, which was found in 94 percent of baby foods.
So why are ingredients like this allowed?
“They can be naturally occurring and they also can be in our environment because of historic pesticide use, industrial sources so I think it’s a real challenge to actually eliminate these metals from our foods,” Carignan said.
Carignan said years ago she studied infant exposure to arsenic, which is found in many rice-based foods, so she began seeking alternatives to feed her baby.
“I’ve sometimes tried to avoid one thing and then later found out the thing that I’m using instead is just as bad if not worse or it’s something else so it gets frustrating I think as a consumer,” Carignan said.
In terms of how to avoid these toxins in your baby’s food, it might be difficult to completely eliminate them until the FDA takes action, but Carignan reccommends adding variety to your baby’s food and avoiding higher risk snacks.
Toxins can be found in food in its natural state, so if you decide to make your own food for your baby instead of buying it off the shelf, Carignan said that won’t necessarily eliminate the toxic metals either.
“I know how hard it is to be a parent and to see a report like this and feel like I’ve given my baby toxic metals. Parents should not feel guilty, that they know they’re doing their best and making the best decisions they can,” Carignan said.