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What's the Deal with Heavy Metals and Baby Food?

On February 4, 2021 a congressional report identified that baby foods from leading manufacturers contained levels of heavy metals that exceeded what experts say are permissible.  These metals included arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. Heavy metal exposure can be harmful to brain development and has been linked to problems with learning, cognition, and behavior. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition and the Council on Environmental Health has shared the following information:

Heavy metals are naturally found in the Earth’s crust. They can be released in the water and soil used to grow food. They can also be introduced into foods during packaging and processing.

How to reduce your baby’s exposure to heavy metals:

What about organic baby foods?

Unfortunately, organic foods can contain the same amount of heavy metals as non-organic foods. This is because heavy metals are found in the soil in which both organic and non-organic foods are grown. Heavy metals can also enter food through packaging and processing. Organic foods have the advantage of containing less pesticides but this does not significantly affect the level of heavy metals.  

Should may baby be tested for heavy metal exposure?

Baby’s are routinely tested for lead at 1 and 2 years of age. Otherwise, at this time it is not recommended that children get tested for heavy metals.

If you are concerned about heavy metal exposures in your child, please talk with us. We would be happy to address any concerns that you may have.



Julie Wigton, MD Board Certified Pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics

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