Should Parents be Worried About Toxic Heavy Metals in Baby Food?
We understand that having a newborn comes with many unknowns, and heavy metals in baby food might be weighing on your mind since keeping your child safe and healthy is a top priority. With all the information on the internet, it can be hard to navigate the dos and don’ts of taking care of a baby and knowing what is correct. Our expert providers specialize in pediatric care, and we’re here to help set the record straight so that you don’t have to worry and you can keep your baby happy and healthy!
What are the known heavy metals in baby food?
A recent US House Committee on Oversight and Reform report found heavy metals in baby food from four companies: Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber. Of those, mercury was found in baby food from Nurture, the only company that tested for it.
Exposure to toxins from heavy metals in baby food has been linked to learning, cognition, and behavior problems. Although the information is limited, we know that a large amount of toxins is required to cause deficits in a baby; a small amount isn’t a cause for worry for your baby. Heavy metals found in baby food are scary, but it most importantly reminds us that we should always be cautious about feeding our children processed foods.
How can I reduce my child’s exposure to toxins found in baby food?
Making small changes in your baby’s diet can cut down the exposure to toxins and give you peace of mind. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these tips for families to reduce exposure to toxins from heavy metals found in baby food:
- Give your child a variety of foods – the more colors, the better!
- Read the labels – try to find baby foods with multiple ingredients.
- Check your water – older pipes can contain lead, and arsenic can contaminate wells.
- If possible, breastfeed instead of giving formula for the first 6 months.
- Avoid processed fruit juices – commercial fruit juice contains a surprisingly high amount of heavy metals and is high in sugar (instead offer your child fresh pureed fruits and vegetables, and guess what? They love it!)
- Avoid fish high in mercury – stay clear of fish like swordfish, shark, or albacore tuna (it’s better to choose fish like cod, light tuna, salmon, or pollock).
- Don’t smoke or vape – toxins like cadmium and lead can be released and inhaled, and secondhand smoke can also increase cancer risk. If you need help quitting, visit the American Lung Association.
The Youth Clinic providers are Northern Colorado’s specialists in treating infants, children, and young adults. We have cared for generations of area youth for 50 years and take pride in our role as both a partner and resource to parents in the development of their children.
If you are concerned about your child’s exposure to heavy metals found in baby food, The Youth Clinic is always available to answer all your questions. Contact us for more information!
Date Published: May 5, 2021