Metals in Baby Food
There has been information in the news lately about metals found in baby food. Should you worry?
While it is true that some metals can be harmful to our health, recent reports are unclear on the types and amounts of metals found in infant and toddler foods. We do know that metals are present in our foods, but some foods will have more than others depending on how and where they are grown.
How You Can Reduce Your Baby's Exposure to Metals:
There are steps parents can take to lower their child's risk of too much metals in his or her diet.
Serve a variety of foods. Give your child a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Offer toddlers and young children sliced or pureed whole fruits rather than
Eating a variety of healthy foods that are rich in essential nutrients can lower the exposure to metals and other contaminants found in some foods.
Avoid rice cereal for infants.
Check your water. Metals can get into tap water, especially if it comes from a well or passes through older pipes that may contain
If you're concerned about lead levels in your water, especially if you use tap water to prepare infant formula or cereals, consider having your home tested.
Breastfeed if possible. Breast-feeding, rather than formula feeding, also can help reduce exposure to metals.
Make healthy fish choices. Some types of fish can be high in a form of mercury called methylmercury, and other metals. Of most concern are fish that eat other fish and live longer, such as shark, orange roughy, and swordfish. Eating too much contaminated fish can harm a child's developing nervous system. But fish is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients children need, and many are low in mercury. So look for
like light tuna (solid or chunk), salmon, cod, whitefish and pollock.
, from both regular and
, may expose children to metals such as cadmium and lead. Secondhand smoke also contains harmful chemicals that can increase the risk of cancer.