WASHINGTON (CNN) – Are you upset that up to 95% of baby food contains one or more toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury?
Here's the good news: There are actions you can take to reduce your child's exposure to these toxic metals, thereby improving your own health and that of your entire family.
"There is definitely something we can all do about it," said Jane Houlihan, the National Director of Science and Health for Better Babies Bright Futures, a coalition of advocates who are committed to reducing the exposure of babies to neurotoxic ones Chemicals used.
"(There are actions that the Food and Drug Administration, baby food companies and parents can take," Houlihan said. "And we really need all three." We need the FDA to develop guidelines for safety standards for these toxic metals Companies can now act to remove metals from food, and there are simple steps that parents can take. "[1
Infants, especially babies, are the highest According to FDA, the risk is higher as their brain and organs are not fully developed, their intestinal absorption of toxic elements is higher and higher their food intake is higher in relation to body weight.
Previous studies The FDA and other individuals have detected toxicity levels of metals in baby food. A recent analysis by Better Babies Bright Futures examined 168 different baby foods from 61 different manufacturers.
They found that 95% of the baby foods contained lead, 73% arsenic, 75% cadmium and 32% mercury. One quarter of the food contained all four heavy metals.
"This is a matter of concern, but no cause for alarm," Houlihan said. "There is no brand or container of food we have tested that causes panic in any way."
"These are pretty low values," she continued. The problem is that these loads add up from meal to meal. "
One of the reasons why exposures to infants are dangerous is the lack of variety in their diets.
For example, take 4-6 Monthly Teenagers Many parents still follow old, obsolete guidelines on the best first foods, or believe that they need to introduce one food after another, and wait a few days for allergy to appear.
There are no more recommendations for this What you did at the beginning was stressed by the pediatrician Dr. Tanya Altmann, author of "What to Feed Your Baby."
"There is no particular color order," Altmann said. "You do not have to wait days between introducing new foods. You do not have to restrain yourself from allergenic foods, unless there is an allergy in the family.
This is cause for concern, but do not worry.
-Jane Houlihan, National Director of Science and Health for Better Babies Bright Future
"The latest guidelines are: Feed your baby with a variety of healthy foods, including all allergenic foods, early and often in a consistency that the baby can handle. "She said. "You do not have to avoid anything other than raw honey, milk or suffocation."
Milk is not recommended as a drink for infants because it can not be metabolized until the age of about one year. But it's good as a supplement to mashed potatoes or other foods in the first year, Altmann said. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, milk and water are the best drinks for children after the first year of life.
If you add variety at the beginning, experts say, children may be less choosy as they grow. That's good news, considering that kiddie staples such as macaroni and cheese appear on the Better Babies list of most neurotoxic foods.
The Better Babies Report identified the foods with the most heavy metal contamination that parents should significantly reduce in their infants and children diet.
Top of the list: rice muesli, rice-based buffers, rice-based snacks and rice rusks or bite biscuits.
Rice is high on the list because it contains extremely high concentrations of inorganic arsenic. Arsenic is a natural element in soil, water and air. As rice is grown in water, it absorbs very well inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form.
As the milling of white rice removes the outer layers containing much of the arsenic concentrate, white rice has less arsenic than brown and wild rice. However, in the Healthy Babies analysis, four out of seven rice cereals tested contained the most toxic form of arsenic in excess of the FDA's proposed limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb).
 "Rice cereals have six times more arsenic than other grains, such as oatmeal and multigrain cereals," Houlihan said.
"I have not been recommending rice cereals as first food for many years because I prefer babies to eating whole grains with more food," Altmann said. "I recommend oatmeal and other whole grains, but only for the first day or so, and I recommend adding almond butter and peanut butter as extra food to the oatmeal."
However, you do not have to prepare grain as whole grains. First food, she added.
"You could make avocado and vegetables and then go straight to salmon and chicken and even meat, beans or lentils, as long as you mash it," Altmann said.
Rice Teeth Rusk and other bite biscuits, Altmann said, are more like snacks that contain no food and are not a good choice to relieve a baby's pain.
"It's basically like giving your baby a biscuit," she said. "A cold piece of melon, a frozen banana, a peeled cucumber are a better choice if you're looking for choking, but I really prefer a teething ring or a soft damp cloth, also with choking."
Arsenic as well as lead and cadmium found in these pesticides, "said Houlihan.
There is also a better selection of snacks for toddlers than rice balls, or even the omnipresent round grain that is so often given as finger food "We recommend other snacks like apples and bananas, cheese, grapes, peaches and yogurt," Houlihan Juices are a significant source of heavy metals for children, not because they are as high as rice products, Houlihan said, but because kids drink so much juice If you start with these foods, the juices are at the top, "Houlihan said. "And that's because children consume so much – 80% of the families serve their toddlers daily with juice and three-quarters of them daily."
By replacing juice with tap water, one parent can reduce a child's exposure to toxic substances by 68%. However, the report does not recommend using bottled water: "Bottled water is no safer than filtered tap water and generates plastic waste that can be easily avoided by choosing tap water."
"Even 100% fruit juice does not provide nutritional benefits over whole fruits," states a consensus statement in September by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Heart Association along with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry was published.
This is because the natural sugar in the juice contributes just as much to weight gain and tooth decay as other sugars, pediatricians say. While juice contains some vitamins and some calcium, it is not a good choice for a healthy drink due to the total lack of protein and fiber.
Babies under six months need only breast milk and milk formula. The group recommends avoiding juice for children under 1 years old.
The drinks of choice for the second year of a child should be water and whole milk, advise the groups. "A small amount of juice is fine," says the recommendations, "but make sure it's 100% fruit juice to avoid added sugar, and serve even healthier bits of real fruit."
Carrots and sweet potatoes are among the most contaminated foods, according to the Better Babies Report. By replacing them with a variety of vegetables, one parent can reduce their child's risk by 73%, the analysis says.
Instead of eliminating carrots and sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, Houlihan suggests that parents serve them less frequently and peel with extra care.
"Peeling definitely helps, and if you peel a little deeper, you can remove more heavy metals," she said.
Another tip: When rice cooks for the whole family, add extra water, just like pasta, Houlihan said. Then pour it off before serving.
"According to FDA studies, this can reduce arsenic levels by up to 60%," she said. "This is especially important for families who often serve rice, and many serve it daily."
Many people believe that contaminating our food with biological products is a major factor in chemical contamination. It helps with some stress, experts say, but not heavy metals.
"Biodegradation reduces pesticide exposure, which is a big advantage, but it does not do much with heavy metals," Houlihan said. "Heavy metals are contained in organic foods, they are contained in conventional foods, which are ubiquitous, toxic chemicals in the food supply."
That means you can not get rid of heavy metals by switching to homemade puree for your groceries baby.
"Heavy metals are so prevalent in the environment that grain picks them up in the fields, so they are included in the foods you would buy in the grocery department of your grocery store," Houlihan said. Homemade baby food is not an excellent way to fight pesticides and other contaminants, said Altmann, as long as you prepare a variety of foods. If you do, she added, make sure you refrigerate the food in glass containers before freezing them.
"I usually recommend keeping the plastic you use to a minimum," Altmann said, especially when it comes to hot or heated foods. This is the moment when we think a little more about chemicals that enter the baby food from plastic.
"I recommend steaming, mashing and refrigerating the vegetables in small glass jars and then freezing them in. Then you can take some sort of take them out and fill them into larger containers if you want."
Baby food manufacturer have teamed up with Better Babies, the Environmental Defense Fund and other stakeholders to create the Baby Food Council, which they believe has a mission to make changes. This can reduce exposure to heavy metals in food. Take, for example, rice, the main cause of arsenic exposure, because it is grown in water.
"Farmers can change irrigation methods for rice," Houlihan said. "If they change the water cycle, they can reduce the amount of arsenic the rice absorbs."
Other changes that may occur include growing crops on cleaner fields with lower levels of heavy metals.
"It may vary regionally, but also from field to field," Houlihan said. "Farmers can test soil and water, understand their levels and try to shift growth to cleaner areas, and companies can set and encourage standards for their suppliers." is processed and manufactured.
"When a manufacturer, like the parents in the processing plant, peels carrots and sweet potatoes deeper, they can remove more heavy metals," Houlihan said. "And companies can do it all voluntarily now."
Some voluntary changes by manufacturers have already helped. A change in the manufacturing guidelines has reduced the arsenic content of fruit juices by 63% over the last 10 years.
"And if there's a change in baby food, it's likely that this will fall off and affect the food we eat all, including pregnant women," Houlihan said. "It's also important to reduce exposure to heavy metals while a baby develops in the womb."
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