Popular baby foods and formulas test positive for arsenic, lead

Two-thirds of baby food in the United States has tested positive for arsenic and other unsafe toxins, according to a new study. The same study determined 80 percent of baby formula contains the deadly poison as well.

65 percent of all of the products tested positive for arsenic.

Of the products that claim to be BPA-free, 60 percent were found positive for the industrial chemical bisphenol A.

It also stated that some products labelled certified organic had higher amounts of mercury and lead than conventional baby foods. "Baby food and formula on the market by well-respected companies have a history of being both safe and nourishing". The substance is one of the organization's 10 chemicals labeled as a major public health concern. All these brands scored a two out of five on the non-profit organization's toxicity report card.

This study was conducted by the Clean Label Project, a Denver-based advocacy group that is pushing for more transparency in how consumer products are labeled. In 2016, the FDA recommended that rice cereal should not contain more arsenic than 100 parts per billion though this was a suggestion to manufacturers that the agency does not enforce.

Arsenic in rice cereals is not surprising.

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"It is important for consumers to understand that some contaminants, such as heavy metals like lead or arsenic, are in the environment and can not simply be removed from food", Peter Cassell, a FDA spokesperson. The organization tests products in various categories (thus far they have tested pet food and baby food) for contaminates and then rates them on a five-star scale, with five stars representing the "purest".

The other toxic chemicals reported were lead which can cause hearing disability, anemia, behavioral issues, and learning problems.

She hopes the results of this alarming study will prompt parents to be stronger advocates for more transparent food labeling and their children's health.

According to Dr. Keith Ayoob, Associate Clinical Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, the numbers presented by the Clean Label Project probably don't mean much.

"The baby industry needs to do a better job in protecting America's most vulnerable population", Bowen said.

  • Myrtle Hill