A shocking study released Wednesday by the Clean Label Project found contaminants, including arsenic and lead, in common baby foods and formulas from brands like Gerber, Sprout, and Enfamil. Over 500 products from 60 brands, all of which were purchased in the last five months, were screened by a third party analytical chemistry laboratory for over 130 metals, pesticides, process contaminants such as BPA/BPS, and other chemicals with links to cancer and other health conditions. The results of the study, which should be noted have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, are alarming.
It appears arsenic is the most common containment. Researchers found that nearly 80 percent of the infant formulas reviewed tested positive for arsenic, and 65 percent of baby food products tested had “detectable levels.” What’s more, according the organization, those certified organic had over twice the amount of arsenic than conventional baby foods tested. Wafers, cereals, and biscuits were among the worst offenders.
Arsenic is a chemical element that is present from both natural and human sources, according to the FDA. Though it has long been known that arsenic, which is linked to cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, diabetes, and cancer, is found in processed products like rice and juice concentrates, the addition poses a greater risk to babies and has been shown to have negative impacts on cognitive development.
But arsenic was not the only concerning chemical found. Of the baby food products tested, 36 percent contained lead, 58 percent contained cadmium (a carcinogenic metal), and 10 percent contained acrylamides (a chemical created during manufacturing). Though the quantities of these contaminates range, and many were found at low levels, some of the products tested disturbingly higher than trace amounts. Some of the worst, for example, tested positive for up to 600 parts of arsenic per billion. The FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion, but it has yet to be enforced.
To find out how your shopping list stacks up, visit the Clean Label Project’s website where you will find one- to five-star ratings of the products you purchase.