Many parents have a lot to worry about a new government report that was released by Congress. The report released on Thursday said many baby foods contain high levels of heavy metals despite the fact that they are produced by reputable companies. Experts say these heavy metals are particularly dangerous to babies and affect their intellectual development.
In many types of research confirmed by experts, the brains of children are especially vulnerable to the dangerous influence of metals such as lead, mercury, and arsenic which can cause permanent brain injury. Asides from this, they can induce a lower IQ, lead to truancy in school, and generally cause delinquent and criminal behaviors in these children when they grow older.
Investigators prompted manufacturers of baby foods to reveal their production processes and internal documents for evaluations to be carried out. Out of the seven manufacturers that responded, investigators found out that about four of them had significant levels of heavy metals in their baby products. This level surpassed the stipulated industry standards, CNN reports.
When asked for comments regarding the findings by investigators, the concerned manufacturers insisted that they have so far kept to safety standards. Many others said they have complied with the government’s directive on standards. They also noted that they have their internal quality and testing standards. A good number of these companies said they belonged to the Baby Food Council, an association formed with the mandate to reduce the number of heavy metals found in baby foods.
This is not the first time a disturbing report as this would hit public attention. In 2018, Consumer Reports undertook an investigation of about 50 baby foods that were distributed nationwide. They found out that every product had a high level of at least one of the three heavy metals. Nearly 70% of these products had upsetting levels of at least one heavy metal. However, the report explained that since most of these metals were naturally-occurring, there wasn’t much to worry about.
James Dickerson of the Consumer Report said that although there was the need to reduce the number of heavy metals in the baby products, it could not be totally eliminated. Dickerson advised parents to reduce foods such as rice and sweet products they give to their babies because these foods were most likely to contain heavy metals due to the manner they were cultivated. Other foods that should be avoided include snacks such as crackers and puffs.
However, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) opined that it is not enough to leave manufacturers to decide the level of heavy metals in their baby products. He said that legislation should be put in place to mandate the FDA to regulate these products. The congressman noted that the FDA should be empowered with the relevant powers to provide oversight responsibilities.
The FDA said it is doing its best to ensure that acceptable standards of baby foods are maintained, even though more still needs to be done.