Related: A Lot Of Food Is Contaminated With Poop–But How Hazardous To Your Health Is It?
The study evaluated 11 years of data from the Food and Drug Administration (from 2003 to 2013) and found lead in 20 percent of baby food samples compared to 14 percent of other foods. Grape and apple juices, sweet potatoes and carrots, as well as teething biscuits were common offenders.
(Be your very best self with these healthy recipes by The Very Best of Recipes For Health available at the Women's Health Boutique!)
That’s alarming, no doubt. “We’re worried about lead because it’s a potent neurotoxin,” says Karen Fratantoni, M.D., a pediatrician with Children’s National Health System. “It’s particularly harmful in young kids who are growing and developing. Lead exposure can make them more likely to have behavioral problems and learning disabilities and affect their cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems,” she says. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no amount of lead exposure is safe.
But you don’t have to throw out all of the baby food in your cabinets. The report isn’t conclusive, but it does ring alarm bells. We don’t know what may be unique about baby food (one thought is that it may be from processing, Tom Neltner, Chemicals Policy Director at the EDF told CNN), and it’s also not clear exactly which brands were analyzed in the report. Lead-based paints (which are no longer on the market but are often found in older homes), and water (as in places like Flint, Michigan) still pose the biggest overall risks for lead exposure.
“My advice to parents remains the same: Feed your children a really varied diet and stick with fresh foods when you can,” says Frantantoni. Not only does that deliver a wide range of nutrients they need, but minimizes exposures to contaminants.
Related: Is It Food Poisoning Or A Stomach Bug?
If you’re concerned, reach out to the brands you buy and ask them what they’re doing to avoid lead in their baby food. Gerber, for one, released a statement saying that “our products consistently fall well within the available guidance levels and meet our own strict standards.”
The article Your Baby Food Might Have Lead In It—Here's What You Need To Know originally appeared on Women’s Health.