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Disturbing Levels Of Toxic Heavy Metals Found In Major Baby Food Brands, Congressional Report Reveals

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A congressional report released Wednesday found disturbing levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food.

The house subcommittee report describes dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in major baby food brands.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez reports, those toxins can be especially dangerous to developing babies and toddlers.

Most of these metals are what we call neurotoxins. Even tiny amounts can impede a child's IQ, hinder brain development, lead to behavioral problems, perhaps increase cancer risk and raise the chances of many other diseases.

But here's the dilemma -- safe thresholds have not been set for most foods. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't have standards for arsenic in baby food, except for rice cereals.

Concerning levels of lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium can routinely be found in many foods, including rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, juices and spices because crops can uptake the toxins from soils. Heavy metals are both naturally occurring and the result of widespread environmental pollution.

That means that parents cannot avoid heavy metals by making their own meals because the produce you buy at the supermarket may have concerning levels of heavy metals.

Fish is a healthy food for children, if they'll eat it, but avoid the large predator fish like albacore tuna, shark and swordfish because they tend to bio-accumulate mercury and other heavy metals from eating smaller fish.

All this puts parents in a bind. The best advice from experts is to feed your child as varied a diet as they'll eat -- the more different foods, and even different brands, the less likely they are to consume worrisome amounts of concerning toxins.

To read the full congressional report, click here.

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