Quantcast
Food
iStock

Arsenic and Other Toxins Found in 80% of Baby Formulas

By Daniele Selby

Arsenic, lead, and cadmium are chemicals you'd expect to find in rat poison and batteries—not baby formula.

But on Wednesday, the Clean Label Project, an initiative that tests products for industrial and environmental contaminants and rates them, said it found arsenic in 80 percent of infant formulas, according to USA Today. In fact, the study—which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal—found that certified some organic baby food products had more than twice the amount of arsenic found in the conventional baby foods it tested.


The group looked at 86 different types of baby formulas and checked for more than 130 different toxins ranging from heavy metals to cancer-linked chemicals, the Clean Label Project's website says.

"It is important for consumers to understand that some contaminants, such as heavy metals like lead or arsenic, are in the environment and cannot simply be removed from food," an FDA spokesperson, told USA Today.

Though arsenic was the most common harmful chemical found in baby formulas, cadmium—which is used in batteries and as a plastic stabilizer—was also detected with alarming frequency. The study found that soy-based infant formulas had about seven times more cadmium, used in batteries, than other types of baby formula.

Both arsenic and cadmium are carcinogens that may cause cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed a regulation which would limit the amount of arsenic allowed in infant rice cereal, but the limit is not yet being enforced.

The Clean Label Project also found lead in 36 percent of 500 baby food products it tested—a finding that backs up the Environmental Defense Fund's research which detected lead in about 20 percent of baby food samples.

The World Health Organization urges women to breastfeed infants if possible, noting that breastmilk has antibodies that are not found in formula, and is an affordable, nutritious food source that can foster healthy development. The WHO also warns that in communities that lack access to safe water, formula that has to be mixed with water can pose an additional risk.

The majority of baby food products and baby formula is sold in North America and Europe—87 percent and 66 percent, respectively, according to Nielsen's Global Baby Care Report—but formula is becoming more popular in developing countries.

The WHO and UNICEF recommend that mothers try breastfeeding within an hour of their baby's birth, and continue to breastfeed if it is an option until the infant is six months old. At that point, both organizations recommend introducing "nutritionally-adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods."

But the WHO says "few children receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods." And according to UNICEF, "poor nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child's life can also lead to stunted growth, which is irreversible and associated with impaired cognitive ability and reduced school and work performance."

Malnutrition and undernutrition are major issues in many developing countries, like Chad and India. Around the world, nearly 155 million children under the age of five are stunted, and 52 million children are malnourished, UNICEF reported.

Global Citizen campaigns to eliminate hunger worldwide. You can take action here.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Energy
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline would cross the Greenbrier River in West Virginia. West Virginia Rivers Coalition / YouTube screenshot

Court Orders Atlantic Coast Pipeline Work Stoppage Over Impact on Endangered Species

Work on the controversial Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would carry fracked natural gas along a 600 mile route through West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina, has been halted by court order and may not resume for several months, The News & Observer reported Monday.

A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia ruled on Friday that work must stop on the pipeline until March, when courts are set to review federal permits that allow the pipeline to operate in the habitat of four endangered species, which wildlife advocates say were rushed.

Keep reading... Show less
Oceans
Researchers found that the response of corals to heat stress during the second of two unprecedentedback-to-back bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef was markedly different from the first. Tane Sinclair-Taylor

Great Barrier Reefs Resist Back-to-Back Bleaching Events Through ‘Ecological Memory’

The Great Barrier Reef has been hit hard by climate change. As waters warm, the higher ocean temperatures force the coral to expel the algae that lives inside of it, providing it with both its nutrients and its brilliant colors. If the water does not cool fast enough and the algae does not return, the coral dies.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Sit-in at Rep. Hoyer's office. Sunrise Movement

1,000+ Youth Activists Storm Capitol to Demand Green New Deal

More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders' offices on Monday.

The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a "select committee" for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!