This week we want to keep you all up-to-date on the newest study to come out. Our friends at Skimm gave a wonderful explanation of the study on toxic heavy metals.
The Story There are high levels of toxic heavy metals in some popular baby foods.
What? Yesterday, a congressional report revealed "significant levels" of metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in trusted baby food brands (think: Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY, and Earth's Best Organic). Concerning, since all these metals are listed on the World Health Organization's top 10 chemicals of public health concern. Investigators said that companies knew what they were doing, often selling foods that surpassed current regulations. And cited that some baby food and their ingredients contained up to five times the mercury level allowed in bottled water. Exposure to these metals can have dangerous effects. Go on. These metals have been tied to chronic disease and cancer. But exposure to toxic chemicals makes a baby's or child's developing brain especially vulnerable. Health officials say exposure can cause brain damage and can lead to a lower IQ, problems in school, and even criminal behavior later in life. The FDA noted that the toxic elements enter the food supply from natural sources: the soil, water, and air. So, it can be hard to completely avoid them. Pesticides used in farming can further increase exposure, but even organic products weren't off the hook. What's being done? Currently, the FDA doesn't have limits for heavy metals in most baby foods (except for infant rice cereal). And companies don't provide warnings to parents on their labels. On top of that, three other baby food brands (Sprout Organic Foods, Parent's Choice, and Plum Organics) refused to cooperate in the investigation – leaving investigators "greatly concerned" they had something to hide. The FDA says it's reviewing the findings and taking it "seriously." Now, investigators are calling on the agency to require manufacturers to test finished products, report the findings, and phase out the ones that contain high levels of heavy metals. So, what can parents do? Experts say parents can minimize the risk by avoiding rice cereal or products made with rice flour. Including the popular healthy-sounding puff snacks – which can be rice-based. And the same goes for sweet potato products. That's because these crops can absorb more pollutants during growth. Experts also recommend swapping them for unprocessed fruits and veggies, and to add in a variety of grains.
theSkimm There's a lack of transparency between the food industry and its consumers. And a failure by the FDA to keep companies in check. Now, parents are left with serious doubts on how to ensure their children are safe and healthy.
Thanks Skimm for this lovely recap!
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- The Baby Whisperers