A recent study conducted by the Clean Label Project estimates that as much as 80 percent of baby formula on store shelves may be contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Further, a startling amount of other baby food products also tested positive for contaminants that could be dangerous to your child and his or her development.
Researchers Test Hundreds of Baby Food Products
Released in October 2017, the Clean Label Project study tested more than 500 baby food products. Among those tested, levels of contaminants were listed as the following:
- 65% tested positive for arsenic.
- 36% tested positive for lead.
- 58% tested positive for cadmium.
- 10% tested positive for acrylamide.
- 60% of products labeled as “BPA free” were found to contain bisphenol A (BPA).
- Almost 80% of baby formula samples tested positive for arsenic.
The study by the Clean Label Fund has highlighted other research that is also startling. For example, the Environmental Defense Fund recently found 20% of more than 2,100 baby food samples tested contained lead. No amount of lead is considered safe.
Contaminants and Dangers for Children
The amount of contaminants found in the baby food products varied considerably, but many of the percentages suggested much more than trace amounts. Contaminants like those found can have a serious effect on your child’s health and development. Consider the following:
- Arsenic: Arsenic is associated with developmental defects, neurotoxicity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
- Lead: Lead exposure has been linked to slowed growth, behavioral problems, hearing issues, lowered IQ, and anemia.
- Cadmium: Cadmium has been shown to impact blood pressure, bone health, and the renal and dopaminergic systems in children.
- Acrylamide: Acrylamide has been labeled as a major concern for food supplies by the WHO/FAO. Acrylamide exposure can lead to neurological damage, and may soon be considered a human carcinogen.
Mainstream Brands Among Potentially Dangerous Contaminated Products
Overall, the study included a wide assortment of foods and brands. Several mainstream, and very popular, brands were included in those testing positive for contaminants. Among them were Enfamil, Gerber, Sprout, and Plum Organics. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the amount of chemicals like arsenic that can be found in baby food products, but unfortunately, those regulations are limited in their ability to keep consumers safe.
A spokesperson for the FDA stated that some heavy metals and contaminants like arsenic “are in the environment and cannot simply be removed from food”. The FDA regulation a limit of arsenic in food to 100 parts per billion. Some samples of baby formula tested positive for up to 600 parts per billion.
What Consumers Need to Know
As a consumer, you trust that the foods you buy are safe to eat. Studies like this one highlight the importance of manufacturers adequately testing and monitoring their products, and complying with FDA regulations. When it comes to the most vulnerable consumers – babies and children – there is no amount of regulation too strong to ensure they are safe and protected from dangerous products.