As if busy parents didn't need one more thing to worry about! Even if you're not familiar with lead and the dangers it can pose to your health, you probably know where you can expect to find it. Lead paint is something all parents know to look out for, and water contaminated with lead has been in the spotlight since the crisis in Flint, Michigan started. But now, experts are sounding the alarm about something totally unexpected: baby food.
A report released this week by non-profit group the Environmental Defense Fund broke the shocking news. The group dug through more than a decade of government records and found that 1 in 5 baby food samples contained detectable levels of lead.
Lead is a toxic metal which can damage your brain. In a toddler's growing body lead poisoning can cause attention and behavioral issues, slow their cognitive development and even affect their heart health.
So how could it find its way into your baby's food? Polluted soil, which is almost impossible to remove the lead from, is the #1 suspect, but experts also believe baby food is at risk because it's highly processed - baby foods contained more lead than adult versions of the same foods.
Click the next page to learn which foods you should avoid!
While all of the lead levels detected were low, the government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there's no safe level for lead in your child's food. Despite this, the EPA says that over 5% of kids are already getting too much lead in their diet. Backlash from the report has forced the Food and Drug administration to say they'll review their food testing process.
In the mean time, the Environmental Defense Fund has listed the food with the highest lead content. There are no brand names revealed, but lead levels were highest in
- fruit juice (especially grape and apple)
- root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots)
- teething biscuits
Now, experts say you shouldn't actually avoid these foods, because it's important to make sure your child gets a healthy mix of all the food groups. Instead, try to give them a variety of different foods to eat - not the same thing every day.
Until something changes parents will just have to be extra vigilant about what their kids are eating, but to be safe fruit juice should be off the table for young kids anyways.
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