The topic of toxic baby foods with heavy metals has been widely discussed since a February 2021 U.S. House of Representatives Staff Report discovered that several store-bought baby foods contained high levels of heavy metals. That report found that certain baby foods contained:
- As much as 177 times FDA’s allowable level of lead
- As much as 91 times the FDA’s allowable level of arsenic
- As much as 69 times the FDA’s allowable level of cadmium
- As much as 5 times the FDA’s allowable level of mercury
Now, a new report from Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) has found that homemade baby food can contain just as much heavy metal as store-bought baby food.
HBFF Report Findings
HBBF tested 288 foods used to make homemade baby food and examined over 7,000 food tests done in published studies. It found zero evidence that homemade baby food has lower levels of heavy metals than store-bought baby food.
The top findings that HBBF found were:
- 94 percent of all tested samples of food contained heavy metals, including 94 percent of family brand foods and homemade purees.
- Crisped rice cereal and rice cakes contain large amounts of arsenic. These foods contain more inorganic arsenic than all other tested foods, and children and adults should both avoid them.
- Some sweet potatoes and fresh carrots contained high levels of cadmium, arsenic, and lead. HBBF recommends varying sources of these food items by buying from different stores, buying different varieties, or buying different brands to avoid purchasing sources with high levels of heavy metals often.
- The foods with the most heavy metals that babies eat are crisped rice cereal, rice cakes, brown rice, rice-based puffs, white rice, rice-based teething rusks and biscuits, non-rice teething crackers, raisins, oat-ring cereal, and granola bars with raisins.
- The foods with the least heavy metals that babies eat are grits, bananas, butternut squash, baby food brand meats, apples, lamb, eggs, pork, watermelon, and oranges.
If your child has developed ADHD or autism spectrum disorder after being exposed to store-bought baby food contaminated with heavy metals, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The toxic baby food lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen can help you with your claim.
Foods to Serve and Foods to Avoid
HBBF grouped tested foods into four categories: serve, limit or rotate, serve rarely, and avoid.
Foods that parents can freely serve babies include:
- Baby food fruits
- Frozen and fresh fruit
- Butternut squash, peas, and green beans (in frozen, fresh, or baby food form)
- Pureed or soft beans and meats
- Baby food brand meat
- Tap water that is tested for lead
- Infant formula, either made with tap water that is lead-free or ready-to-feed
- Unsweetened applesauce
- Lengthwise-cut grapes
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Frozen banana (for teething)
- Chilled and peeled cucumber (for teething)
Foods that should be limited or rotated include:
- Canned fruit
- Baby spinach
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Peanut butter
- Rice cooked in extra water and drained
- Multi-grain infant cereal
- Iron-fortified oatmeal infant cereal
- 100% non-grape fruit juice
- Non-rice crackers and biscuits for teething
Foods that should be served rarely include:
- Full-size spinach
- Dried fruit
- Sunflower seed butter
- Brown rice
- Rice grown in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, or in the United States without a state specified
- Rice cooked without extra cooking water
- Oat ring cereal
- Grape juice
- Arrowroot teething crackers
- Rice-based rusks and biscuits for teething
Foods that should be avoided include:
- Brown rice cooked without extra cooking water
- Crisped rice cereal
- Rice cakes
- Rice puffs
The Problem and the Solution
It appears as if there is not a wide variety of foods available to parents with reliably low levels of toxic heavy metals. The HBBF suggests that parents should introduce and serve to their babies a wide variety of foods, whether those foods be homemade or store-bought baby food.
If you serve your child the same food each day, this can concentrate certain heavy metals in your child’s diet long-term. According to HBBF, a varied diet can avoid this. They suggest ensuring that your child receives a healthy blend of nutrients.
As of right now, the FDA has only set heavy metal limits in infant juice and infant rice cereal. It has not set heavy metal limits for any other baby foods.
HBBF suggests that the FDA should establish heavy metal limits in all foods that babies eat, as well as for foods eaten during pregnancy. HBBF also suggests the FDA should make growers and companies take steps to lower the number of heavy metals in ingredients and crops.
Food Swaps That Can Lower Levels of Heavy Metals
HBBF suggests several food swaps that can lower the heavy metal levels in your baby’s food, including:
- Offer frozen bananas in place of rice-based teething rusks and biscuits to reduce heavy metal exposure by 95 percent.
- Offer yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, lengthwise-cut grapes, cheese, beans, unsweetened applesauce, butternut squash, peas, green beans, baby food fruits, fresh fruit, or frozen fruit in place of rice-based baby food puffs to lower heavy metal exposure by 95 percent.
- Feed infant oatmeal cereal to your baby in place of infant rice cereal to reduce heavy metal exposure by 75 percent.
- Feed baby food pureed meats to your baby in place of peanut butter to lower lead and inorganic arsenic exposure by 69 percent.
- Feed a wide variety of vegetables to your baby in place of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and carrots each day to reduce heavy metal exposure by 43 percent.
- Offer tap water in place of apple juice to reduce heavy metal exposure by 39 percent.
- Offer frozen or fresh fruit in place of canned fruit since canned fruit can contain 30 times more lead than fresh or frozen fruit.
Tips for Feeding Your Baby
HBBF offers several tips for feeding your baby, including:
Feed Your Baby a Varied Diet
You can concentrate heavy metals in your baby’s diet if you serve the same food each day over the long term. You should rotate numerous healthy foods in your baby’s diet. This can make sure your baby receives a healthy blend of nutrients.
Serve Meals and Snacks Regularly
Fasting and meal skipping is linked to higher levels of blood in children, as well as greater levels of adult lead absorption. Serving meals and snacks regularly can reduce lead exposure.
Ask Your Doctor About Iron
Many babies don’t have enough iron in their diet. Babies that are between six and 12 months old require extra iron from sources such as formula or iron-fortified cereal. Iron, along with vitamin C, zinc, and calcium, can help to reduce the number of heavy metals the body absorbs.
Foods that contain these nutrients include:
- Iron-fortified cereal
- Lean red meat
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
Skip Certain Rice-Based Foods
You should avoid serving babies crisped rice cereal, baby food puff snacks, rice cakes, or brown rice cooked without extra cooking water.
Swap Some Foods
Swap in multi-grain infant cereal or iron-fortified oatmeal in place of rice cereal to reduce arsenic intake. Swap in chilled, peeled cucumbers or frozen bananas in place of rice-based teething biscuits to reduce arsenic intake.
Swap in purees and whole fruit for fruit juice for nutrients and fiber. Swap in healthy low-metal snacks in place of rice cakes and rice puffs. Swap in a variety of grains in place of rice. And when serving rice, cook it in extra water, then drain the water.
Take Extra Care When Serving Fruits and Vegetables
Wash any produce under cold water for 20 seconds. Scrub tough skin with your hands or a vegetable brush. Don’t feed your baby sweet potatoes or carrots daily, and rotate the sources of sweet potatoes or carrots.
Don’t serve spinach daily. Favor baby spinach, but rotate spinach with other greens. Serve butternut squash instead of Hubbard or acorn squash to reduce arsenic and cadmium intake. Wash hands before eating.
Can Toxic Heavy Metals Cause Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD?
Mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead have been linked to autism spectrum disorder or ADHD by multiple scientific sources:
- An association between elevated levels of arsenic in blood and hair and autism spectrum disorder was discovered by a 2019 meta-analysis, which determined “consistent evidence” associates early life exposure to arsenic with autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.
- Children with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses had significantly more arsenic in their blood, according to a 2018 study, which noted that these results were consistent with numerous studies done in the past.
- Census tracts with the most lead in the air saw more autism spectrum disorder diagnoses than census tracts with the least lead in the air, according to a 2016 study.
- Children with autism spectrum disorder had more lead in their hair compared with children without autism, according to a 2015 study.
- Mercury in the blood during late pregnancy as well as early childhood was associated with autistic behavior in children who were five years old, according to a 2017 study.
- “Greatly increased” amounts of mercury were found in the urine of children with autism spectrum disorder in a 2003 study.
- A 2021 study associated autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with more cadmium in the hair.
- Inorganic arsenic exposure was associated with childhood ADHD by a 2020 study.
- “Even low levels of lead” exposure were associated with ADHD by a 2019 review.
- Lead exposure was associated with inattention symptoms and impulsivity/hyperactivity symptoms by a 2013 meta-analysis.
- ADHD diagnosis and severity were associated with cadmium exposure by a 2018 study.
Which Store-Bought Baby Foods Contain Heavy Metals?
The February 2021 U.S. House Staff Report found toxic heavy metals in baby foods made by the following manufacturers:
- Plum Organics
- Happy Family Organics
- Earth’s Best Organic
- Sprout Organic Food
- Parent’s Choice (Walmart brand)
What Are the Symptoms of Autism?
The primary symptoms of autism are:
- A restriction in interests
- Being resistant to changes
- Restricted behaviors
- Repetitive behaviors
- Regular communication issues
- Regular social interaction issues
A professional will need to diagnose your child if your child displays these symptoms.
What Are the Symptoms of ADHD?
Common symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and disruptive behavior. A qualified physician or mental healthcare professional must diagnose ADHD.
ADHD symptoms must be present for at least six months and must be much more obvious than they are in average people of the same age in order for an ADHD diagnosis to be made. The symptoms must be present in at least two settings and need to directly interfere with or reduce the quality of functioning.
Toxic Baby Food Lawyers
Nadrich & Cohen is currently filing legal claims on behalf of children who have developed autism spectrum disorder or ADHD after being exposed to store-bought baby foods contaminated with toxic heavy metals.
Since 1990, we have been representing the victims of defective products, such as contaminated baby foods, Similac and Enfamil baby formula, Neocate baby formula, and more. We have recovered over $350,000,000 on behalf of our clients.
Defective product cases can involve complex legal issues, and we have tremendous experience and expertise in proving that defective products caused our clients to be injured or sickened.
The only fee we charge is a percentage of any financial compensation we obtain on behalf of your child. We will not charge a fee if we do not obtain financial compensation, so you will never owe us any out-of-pocket fee. You will never owe us any upfront fee since we don’t charge a fee until we obtain a recovery.
Call us, text us from this page, or contact us online today for a free consultation if your child developed ADHD or autism spectrum disorder after eating contaminated baby food. You may be eligible for financial recovery.