A new investigation found that 168 baby foods from major manufacturers include lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. A quarter of the food contained all four metals.

For baby food on the market today, researchers found that 95% had lead, 73% had arsenic, 32% contained mercury and 75% had cadmium inside. Experts cannot agree on healthy lead levels, 20% of tested foods had 10 times the 1-ppb limit shared by public health organizations.

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The study was commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures. The FDA tests baby food and also found similar levels of toxins in a previous study.

These toxins get into food from “pesticides, contaminated fertilizer, airborne contaminants and industrial operations,” according to the research released. Heavy metals in food can impact a baby’s neurodevelopment and affect IQ levels.

So what foods should parents stay away from? Rice cereal and rice dishes were at the top of the list. Rice was found to have all four toxic metals. Fruit juices, carrots and sweet potatoes also topped the list of foods to avoid. Replacing water with juice and choosing other vegetables help reduce the toxic metal levels in food.

Both baby food companies and the FDA need to act on this unacceptable health crisis. Research director for Health Babies Better Futures said in a statement, “When FDA acts, companies respond. We need the FDA to use their authority more effectively, and much more quickly, to reduce toxic heavy metals in baby foods.”

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