Just what we needed, another thing for parents to worry about. A study released in October 2017 found that an alarming number of popular baby food and formula products contained lead, arsenic and BPA—including 80 percent of infant formula, which tested positive for arsenic.
The study, conducted by the Clean Label Project, tested approximately 530 baby food products, including formula, baby food, toddler drinks and snacks—all of which were purchased within the last five months.
The results were shocking: 65 percent of all of the products tested positive for arsenic. In addition, 36 percent tested positive for lead, 58 percent for cadmium and 10 percent for acrylamide. And 60 percent of products that claimed to be BPA-free actually tested positive for—you guessed it—BPA.
All of these chemicals can potentially affect infant development. The World Health Organization states that arsenic can lead to developmental defects, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurotoxicity and cancer. One of the products that tested highest for arsenic were the rice-based snack puffs that toddlers all seem to love so much. Even low levels of lead have been linked to lower IQs, hearing issues, anemia and behavioral problems.
According to the study, the products that scored the worst included popular baby brands Enfamil, Gerber, Plum Organics and Sprout. All these brands scored a two out of five on the non-profit organization's toxicity report card.
Jaclyn Brown, the executive director of the Clean Label Project, tells USA Today, "The baby industry needs to do a better job in protecting America’s most vulnerable population." She hopes the results of this alarming study will prompt parents to be stronger advocates for more transparent food labeling and their children's health.
A list of the all the products tested and their ratings can be found on the Clean Label project website.