A trending study by the Clean Label Project finds that 2/3 of baby food in the U.S. could contain dangerous toxins like arsenic and lead. However, experts at St. Louis Children’s Hospital say very small amounts of arsenic and lead are found in the environment, so these chemicals getting into baby and adult food are sometimes inevitable.
In the study, researchers tested 530 top-selling baby food, formula and snack brands over a 5-month time period. They found 65 percent of baby food tested positive for arsenic and 36 percent tested positive for lead.
For new St. Louis mother, Katherine Baechle, this study has made her rethink what she’s feeding her son a little bit.
“It’s going to make me think a little bit more about everything that I’m buying,” said Baechle. She has a 13-month-old son named Bryson.
“Bryson loves baby food,” she said, which is obvious because her son is already getting strong for his age and growing fast.
She said she feeds him a variety of foods, including both store-bought and breastfeeding.
“We just kind of buy whatever. We don’t always buy the same thing, we buy a little bit of Gerber, a little bit of Happy Baby,” said Baechle.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital registered dietician Tara Todd encourages parents to continue to buy the brands of baby food they already trust. She says very small amounts of arsenic and lead are common in foods grown in the ground.
“Arsenic is found in the soil, so plants take up arsenic, that’s how they work,” said Todd. She said this applies to foods across the board. It doesn’t matter if baby food is organic or non-organic if it was grown in the ground, there’s a chance it could have these chemicals in it.
If you’re a label reader, Todd says to make sure the baby food and formula you buy has only one ingredient in it.
“If you’re buying pears, you want it to say pears. nothing else. It shouldn’t have salt, it shouldn’t have really anything else,” said Todd.
Fortunately for Baechle, she’s already been playing by the rules. “I don’t read too many labels, I trust the brands.”
St. Louis Children’s Hospital says they do not endorse this Clean Label Project study at this point because it was not published in a peer-review journal.
Here is a link to the original study.
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