Health scare of the week
Toxic metals in baby foods
Many common baby foods contain potentially harmful levels of arsenic, lead, and other toxic chemicals, reports NBCNews.com. The nonprofit group Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) tested 168 common baby foods from 61 brands. Ninety-four percent contained lead, 73 percent arsenic, 75 percent cadmium, and 32 percent mercury. A quarter contained all four metals; 1 in 5 had over 10 times the lead level deemed excessive by public health bodies. The harmful effects of these metals is well established: Lead exposure can affect brain development in children; arsenic is a carcinogen. “Even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ,” the authors write. “The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.” Among the highest-risk foods identified by HBBF are fruit juices, rice-based products, sweet potatoes, and carrots. The group is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to set maximum safe limits for the metals.