Pediatricians and public health officials have warned consumers for years about lead contamination in everything from paint chips to water. Recently, a study has extended that warning to include baby food, especially juices and vegetables.
The Environmental Defense Fund has analyzed 11 years of federal data and has concluded that 20 percent of 2,164 baby food samples contains detectable levels of lead, most commonly found in grape and apple fruit juices, root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and carrots, in addition to some cookies that are used as teething biscuits.
“Lead can have a number of effects on children and it’s especially harmful during critical windows of development,” commented Dr. Aparna Bole, pediatrician at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, in an interview with CNN. Although Bole was not involved in the survey, in her professional opinion, she additionally stated that, “the largest burden that we often think about is neurocognitive that can occur even at low levels of lead exposure.”
Brands were not identified in the study data release and levels of contamination are thought to be relatively low.
In a response to the findings, Gerber issued a statement saying that samples of its products, “consistently fall well within the available guidance levels and meet our own strict standards. We know parents may be concerned about a recent report on lead in foods and want to reassure them that Gerber foods and juices are safe.”
As the government continues to work with the FDA, the Environmental Defense Fund and others, it is important that parents stay up-to-date on information that could irrevocably have an impact on their children’s health.