Organic foods contain lead, arsenic. What parents can do to protect children
Parents who feed their children organic foods want the confidence that they are making the healthiest and safest choice.
But one report released Thursday by Consumer Reports stated that organic foods are no safer than conventional baby and toddler foods when it comes to heavy metals. Some of the metals found in some of the most popular baby foods include arsenic, cadmium and lead.
âOrganic foods were as likely as conventional foods to contain heavy metals because the organic standard focuses on pesticides and not these contaminants. “
Following:‘Worrisome’ Levels of Lead and Arsenic in Some Baby Foods, Consumer Reports Says
Organic is good, but not when it comes to heavy metals in food
Organic foods for babies and toddlers have benefits.
Babies take in fewer pesticides. For this reason, it naturally follows that organically grown foods have less of an impact on the environment, according to the new report.
But avoiding heavy metals, which when consumed regularly are known to cause certain health problems in children, is not one of them, according to the study.
Of the 50 baby and toddler products sampled by Consumer Reports, 20 were labeled organic.
The report found a metal in each sample.
“Arsenic and lead, which were used in the past as pesticides, are banned by organic regulations,” says Charlotte Vallaeys, food labeling expert at Consumer Reports. “But because these heavy metals are contaminants in the soil, there is no reason organic baby food should contain less.”
Parents surprised because they thought organic meant safe
Some parents did not expect the results. According to a survey, the main reason parents gave for buying packaged organic food was that they thought they were avoiding harmful contaminants such as heavy metals.
Almost 40 percent of parents believed there was no lead, arsenic or other heavy metals in the foods they bought.
What can parents do if organic is not the solution?
It may not be possible to completely remove all heavy metals from food. But Consumer Reports has suggestions for steps parents can take to reduce heavy metals in the food they feed their children.
âMaking changes now will go a long way in protecting your children, regardless of any previous exposure,â said James Dickerson, Scientific Director of Consumer Reports.
1. Limit the amount of infant rice cereal your child eats.
Cereals are often a baby’s first solid food because they are easy to swallow and fortified with iron. But Consumer Reports notes concerns about the levels of inorganic arsenic in the product.
2. Be picky about the types of rice your child eats.
Brown rice contained more inorganic arsenic than white rice of the same type. Rice cakes, cereals, and pasta were also high in inorganic arsenic.
A better choice is white basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan. Sushi rice from the United States contained on average half the inorganic arsenic of most other types.
3. Choose snacks low in heavy metals.
Apples, unsweetened applesauce, avocados, bananas, beans, cheese, grapes, hard-boiled eggs, peaches, strawberries, and yogurt are snacks that have been shown to be low in heavy metals.
4. Beware of fruit juices.
Previous tests have found inorganic arsenic and lead in many brands of apple and grape juice.
5. Go easy on the chocolate.
Cocoa powder may contain cadmium and / or lead. Cocoa itself can contain more than dark chocolate, and dark chocolate can contain more than milk chocolate.
6. Pass the protein powders.
These can contain arsenic, cadmium and lead, according to Consumer Reports tests. Whey and egg-based powders tended to contain less than those made from plants such as soy and hemp.
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