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Traces of toxic metal are found in 95% of U.S baby food: How do you avoid them?

Suppose your newborn is gradually being poisoned with toxic metal day by day, without you even knowing before it’s already too late. That’s a scary thought for any parent, and even more horrifically, a realistic one too!

A recent investigation by the nonprofit Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) found that 95% of all baby foods produced in the US contained traces of four toxic metals: arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. In this article by Pacific Prime, we will take a closer look at what these findings mean for your newborn, and how you can prevent your children from consuming these toxic metals.

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Toxic metals found in baby food

The HBBF investigated 168 baby foods in the US, and the results are troubling. One in every four baby foods tested contained all toxic heavy metals, with almost 100% of all tested baby foods containing traces of lead.

The following table shows the percentage of baby foods which contained traces of heavy metal:

Type of metalPercentage of baby foods containing the metal

This table shows how many baby foods had multiple toxic metals in a single container:

Number of metalsThe percentage found in baby foods
4 metals26%
3 metals40%
2 metals21%
1 metal8%
0 metals5%

In a shocking blow to food safety standards in the US, only 9 of the 168 baby foods investigated by the HBBF showed no traces of toxic metals. It comes to the surprise of many that in a developed country with advanced food safety standards like the US, these toxic metals are still found in food for babies.

How they harm your children

Toxic metals, even in traces, are a serious long-term health risk for your child. Traces of toxic metals found in baby food can erode a child’s IQ, cause developmental and behavior problems, and impact kidneys and liver, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

How they got there

The origination of these toxic metals is varied and complex. They can be a result of unsafe manufacturing processes, but more commonly, they originate from the agricultural practices on crops used in making baby foods.


One particular crop, which has extremely high concentrations of inorganic arsenic is rice. This is because rice is grown submersed in water, making it especially good at absorbing inorganic arsenic. This situation is made worse by the ‘legacy problem’, stemming from outdated pesticides that farmers had sprayed on the land for generations, leaving residues containing toxins that are then absorbed underwater by rice.

Fruit juice, carrots, and sweet potatoes 

While the concentration levels of toxic metals found in juices are not as high as rice, children drink so much juice that even its relatively low toxic metal traces can become dangerous.

On the other hand, carrots, and sweet potatoes are also on the list of foods most contaminated. The HBBF analysis found that by reducing the number of carrots and sweet potatoes served to children each day, and replacing them with a wider variety of vegetables, a parent can reduce their baby’s toxic metal-related health risk by 73%.

How to avoid toxic metals found in baby food?

Now that we know how these toxins get into our children’s food, let’s look at the most effective ways you can prevent your children from consuming toxic metals and still maintain a healthy, nutritious diet throughout their childhood.

Diet variety

Eating a wider variety of food can go a long way to keeping your children safe from toxic metals found in baby food. By feeding your baby the same kinds of food for months, they face the health risk of consuming too much of a particular kind of toxin.

Avoid rice

As we’ve discussed, rice was listed as having the highest concentration of metal toxins. By avoiding rice-based products, you can reduce the level of toxin intake by your child. For instance, the HBBF recommends finding rice-free alternatives, such as puff snacks, teething biscuits, rice rusks, and infant rice cereal.

Drink less juice

Drinking juice all day isn’t only bad for your child’s health because of the metal toxins it contains, but the high sugar content in juice is also a leading cause of childhood obesity and tooth decay. A recent study by the Medical University of Vienna found that children who drink fruit juice with breakfast are 50% more likely to be overweight, while those who drank water saw their obesity risk fall by 40%.

There are plenty of reasons to stop your children from drinking fruit juice, and with these reasons combined, the case for a no-juice diet becomes all the more compelling.

Going the distance to protect your children

Children are prone to health problems as their bodies are still in developing and their immune systems are not as mature as adults. This makes health risks and the costs of keeping your children healthy a real financial hazard for many parents worldwide.

For this reason, many parents have decided to secure family insurance or newborn insurance for their children to make sure that their child’s health risks are being covered. If you’d like to find out more about finding your child the best private health insurance plan, our experts at Pacific Prime are more than willing to help.

As insurance brokers, we partner with international health insurance companies worldwide to provide our clients with the family health insurance plan that best suits their needs. For your child, we are also able to offer the most price-competitive maternity health insurance plans that have health insurance coverage for your newborn baby.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experts for free consultations on finding the health insurance plan for you, or visit our website for a no-obligation, free quote today!

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Phuwit is a content writer who helps inform readers on insurance-related issues through writing articles, blogs, and more.Phuwit strives to produce quality content that makes insurance easier to understand for readers.

In his free time, Phuwit enjoys reading and playing badminton. He also loves a good cup of coffee.