Health warning: Testing finds many popular baby foods contain harmful metals that could lead to behavioral problems

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Thursday, August 16, 2018
Warning for parents about baby food
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Warning for parents about baby food

There's a new warning about baby food. New testing from Consumer Reports finds many baby food products contain harmful metals that could lead to behavioral problems.

Consumer Reports tested 50 products, including baby cereals, packaged fruit and vegetables, packaged entrees, cookies and other snacks like puffs.

Every product tested had measurable levels of at least one of these metals -- cadmium, inorganic arsenic or lead. About two-thirds had worrisome levels of at least one heavy metal, with potential health risks.

Consumer Reports Chief Scientific Officer James Dickerson said, "Children are going through development, particularly their neurological systems. And so those elements could adversely affect their proper development."

Long-time exposure to these heavy metals increases the risk for serious health problems, including cancer and type two diabetes. Out of all the foods tested, snack foods and products made with rice fared the worst.

Heavy metals occur naturally in soil and water. Products labeled organic were also just as likely to contain the heavy metals as conventional ones.

So, what can you do to minimize exposure and protect your child and yourself from dangerous heavy metals?

"Just because you've been feeding your children these types of foods doesn't mean that they'll necessarily have a specific adverse response to eating them," Dickerson explained. "If you've been feeding these foods to your children, reduce the amounts they are consuming per day or per week. And if you're really concerned about it, talk to your doctor."

Read Consumer Reports' full findings here.