Twenty percent of baby foods contain lead

Lead, a toxic metal, was found most often in fruit juices, root vegetables, and cookies.

Jeremy Morrow | Jun 19, 2017

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has analyzed 11 years of public data and discovered detectable levels of lead in 20 percent of baby food samples tested, according to CNN.

Lead, a toxic metal, was found most often in fruit juices, root vegetables, and cookies. Particularly affected were grape and apple juices, strained potatoes and carrots, and teething biscuits.

"Lead can have a number of effects on children and it's especially harmful during critical windows of development," said Dr. Aparna Bole, a pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, who was not involved with the EDF report. "The largest burden that we often think about is neurocognitive that can occur even at low levels of lead exposure."

While the levels of lead detected are believed to be relatively low, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no identifiable safe level of lead for children.

The Environment Defense Fund does not recommend that parents avoid certain foods for their babies, but says they should consult their pediatrician about all avenues of lead exposure.

"In many American communities, the most significant route of lead exposure is from paint and soil," Bole said. "Avoiding all sources of exposure of lead poisoning is incredibly important but the last thing I would want is for a parent to restrict their child's diet or limit their intake of health food groups."

Bole added that the benefits of eating root vegetables far outweigh the risk.

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