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Report: ‘Concerning’ levels of heavy metals in baby foods

HARTFORD — Consumer Reports says they’ve analyzed 50 nationally distributed, packaged foods made for babies and toddlers, checking for heavy metals and arsenic.

The results?

• Every product had measurable levels of at least one of these heavy metals: cadmium, inorganic arsenic, or lead.

• About two-thirds (68 percent) had worrisome levels of at least one heavy metal.

• Fifteen of the foods would pose potential health risks to a child regularly eating just one serving or less per day.

• Snacks and products containing rice and/or sweet potatoes were particularly likely to have high levels of heavy metals.

• Organic foods were as likely to contain heavy metals as conventional foods.

Consumer Reports says that more than 90% of parents with children 3-years-old and under will eat packaged foods occasionally.

“While those results are worrisome, parents who have been feeding these foods to their children don’t need to panic, says James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. He notes that consuming these foods doesn’t guarantee that a child will develop health problems, but that it may simply increase that risk. And whether problems develop depends on a host of factors, including genetics and exposure to other sources of heavy metals, such as from lead paint or contaminated water.”

Consumer Reports goes on to say that there was some encouraging finds for parents. The tests showed that 16 of the products had less concerning levels of the heavy metals, suggesting that all baby food manufacturers should be able to get to the same result.

Read more on how heavy metals can harm children.