October 22, 2020
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Senate speaks out over contaminated baby food

By Sarah Adamo
Staff Writer

Sen. Chuck Schumer D-N.Y., called for the Food and Drug Administration to investigate a report regarding contaminated baby food on Oct. 20. According to The Associated Press, dozens of baby food products contain problematic metals, such as arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium.  

The report in question was a study released by the nonprofit organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures, which detected traces of heavy metals in an alarming 95 percent of the 168 baby foods tested. One in four of those tested possess all four metals, the report claimed. Schumer urged federal regulators to discern the legitimacy of the study and post a public statement of their conclusion.

Children are particularly vulnerable to toxic metals (Instagram).

Remarking on this potential danger, Schumer offered a statement that, unless given reason to be wary, consumers generally trust the food that is marketed to them to be regulated by proper authorities and nutritious when indicated as such. According to The Associated Press, Schumer urged for the FDA to defend against breaches that may undermine this general understanding. 

The risk is high if there is a continuation in baby food contamination. CBS News reported that researchers caution that “‘even in the trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ.’”

The brands tested in the new study were not obscure either, according to CBS News, as household names like Gerber and Parent’s Choice are under scrutiny because the research tested 61 brands for 13 different types of baby food, declaring only very few to be free of toxic metals. 

Among the foods tested were infant formula, infant cereal, teething biscuits and rice puffs, USA Today reported. However, only nine out of the 168 baby food containers were devoid of toxic metals, according to CBS News.

Toxic metals can be highly dangerous to humans, and children are particularly vulnerable. CBS News reports that lead, the most common metal found in the samples, can stunt and alter brain development. The FDA also linked arsenic to cancer and heart disease. 

To counter the contamination, HBBF warned that foods like carrots and sweet potatoes must be consumed sparingly, according to CBS News. The organization suggested supplementing them with other vegetables. 

While many consider such research to be credible, USA Rice has challenged the notion that arsenic exposure negatively impacts child IQs, according to CBS News. The federation argued that studies in the U.S. have not yet been released to uphold the claim.

Nevertheless, USA Today included a list of what HBBF          recommends instead of the foods it cautions against, naming frozen bananas, multigrains, oatmeal, fresh fruits and tap water as a replacement for fruit juice. 

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