A report released by HealthyBabyFood.org revealed some surprising results for parents trying to protect their babies from toxic metals found in the foods their babies consume. The report says that researchers studied hundreds of store-bought baby food options and found that making baby food at home results in just as many toxic metal-containing foods as store-bought baby food options.
The researchers on the paper are from Healthy Babies, Bright Futures, which is known as a group of nonprofits, donors, and scientists with a mission to reduce infant exposure to neurotoxic chemicals.
A co-author of the paper releasing the findings, Jane Houlihan, said, “We found no evidence to suggest that homemade baby foods made from store-bought produce are better than store-bought baby foods when it comes to heavy metal contamination.”
When researchers tested both homemade baby food and store-bought, they found that 94% of both homemade store-bought baby foods tested contained more than four toxic heavy metals. The researchers tested 288 foods that included sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, and cereal. They also examined more than 7,000 other foods tested in other published studies as part of the data collection.
The researchers found that some foods were so heavily contaminated with heavy metals that they recommend avoiding them altogether. Fourteen foods the researchers examined were found to have little contamination and could be served as parents wish.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “Toxic metal exposure can be harmful to the developing brain. It’s been linked with problems with learning, cognition, and behavior.”
Houlihan said she saw that many people believed making homemade baby food would protect their babies from heavy metal exposure over store-bought and said, “We suspected we’d find heavy metals in all kinds of food because they’re ubiquitous contaminants in the environment.
She said, "And that is exactly what we found – heavy metals were in foods from every section of the store.”
Houlihan said, “What this says is that as the FDA is setting standards for heavy metals in baby food, they need to go beyond the baby food aisle.