MoneyConsumerConsumer Reports

Actions

Consumer Reports: Baby-Food Warning

Posted: 12:50 PM, Aug 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-16 17:56:59Z

A warning about the foods you might be feeding your children: New testing from Consumer Reports has revealed that many of them could contain heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and inorganic arsenic.

That could lead to behavioral problems, lower IQs, and other health risks. CR reveals which foods have these harmful metals and what parents need to do about it.

Baby cereals, snacks, and packaged fruits and vegetables -- all common foods parents give to their kids. As new testing reveals, also common foods that can contain high levels of inorganic arsenic, cadmium, and lead.

Children are going through development, particularly their neurological systems. And those elements could adversely affect their proper development. Long-term exposure to those heavy metals increases the risk of serious health problems, including cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Consumer Reports tested 50 products including baby cereals, packaged fruit and vegetables, packaged entrées, cookies, and other snacks often fed to infants and toddlers. About two-thirds were found to contain inorganic arsenic, lead, and cadmium above levels associated with potential health risks. Snack foods and products made with rice fared the worst.

Certain plants, like rice, naturally take up these heavy elements more so than others. Heavy metals occur naturally in soil and water. And don’t think that buying organic will help. Products labeled organic were just as likely to contain the heavy metals as conventional ones.

So, what can you do to minimize exposure and protect your children and yourself from dangerous heavy metals? Just because you’ve been feeding them these types of foods doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily have a specific adverse response. Reduce the amounts they consume per day or per week. And if you’re really concerned about it, talk to your doctor.

To reduce the amount of heavy metals your children are exposed to, Consumer Reports recommends limiting the amount of infant rice cereal and packaged snacks they eat and encouraging them to consume a broad array of healthful whole foods.