From recent findings, reports have been made that found high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods; parents need to be aware of this development and learn how best to manage it, as this may leave us with a lot of questions. These toxic heavy metals present in baby foods include arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury; with recent reports stating that they are present in 95% of baby foods. The Food and Drug Administration (US) and the World Health Organization declare them dangerous to human health; particularly to babies and children, who are most vulnerable to their neurotoxic effects.
These heavy metals are not only present in the cans or bottles of baby food, but they are naturally occurring metals present in soil water, and air; plants absorb them as they grow, leaving traces in our food. Findings show that they are present mostly in rice as it tends to absorb more arsenic from the ground; also root vegetables that tend to stay longer in the soil before harvesting. As most baby foods are rice-based; this results in a high level of heavy metal intake which is not ideal for children.
Dangers of Toxic Heavy Metals to Children’s Health
What are the dangers? Exposure of children to these toxic heavy metals at high levels are likely to :
- Have slow growth and development.
- Contribute to learning problems.
- Increase the risk of cancer.
- Contribute to behavioral concerns, including attention disorder.
How to Moderate the Intake of Toxic Heavy Metals in our Children
Parents can learn to moderate the level of toxic heavy metals in baby foods, by being open to the varieties of ways they can feed and nurture their babies healthily. These include:
- Breastfeeding and Formula use: Parents should encourage breastfeeding their babies at least till the age of one. If breastfeeding is not a viable option, the use of formula products is another way to go.
Read Also [Benefits of Breastfeeding to Mum and Baby]
- Avoid products with a high level of toxic heavy metals: these products are difficult to avoid totally; thus their moderation in your baby’s diet is something parents should take note of. Aside from rice and root vegetables mentioned above, fruit juices and plant-based protein powders should be reduced in your child’s consumption. Substitute rice-based cereals with multigrain cereals or oatmeal.
- Homemade baby food: It may be surprising, but organic homemade baby food can also harbor these toxic heavy metals; choosing the right products to make your baby food is essential in ensuring your child’s health.
This new development is not to scare parents, but to make them aware of the situation concerning our children; as researches are still ongoing on these toxic heavy metals, parents should do everything possible not to compromise their children’s health.
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