Baby Foods, Peanut Butter May Expose Children to Dangerous Chemicals

Peanut Butter isn’t the Only Food Exposing Kids to Life-Threatening Chemicals
Recent reports about peanut butter and cold cuts containing traces of a fire retardant found in foam insulation have gained widespread attention from consumers. Fire retardants have been deemed “highly toxic” by the Environment Protection Agency, with studies linking them to devastating reproductive and hormone problems. Like other dangerous chemicals found in food, one instance of consumption may not be dangerous, but repeated exposure to these chemicals through food can lead to serious malfunction and disease.
Unfortunately peanut butter and cold cuts aren’t the only tainted foods in recent news reports.
Baby foods joins the list of foods contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Here is a summary of the findings.
1.Italian researchers recently discovered that meat-based baby food and baby formulas contained trace amounts of fungus-derived hormones called mycoestrogens. Mycoestrogens can be found in corn, which is fed to cows and used as growth stimulants in farm animals. By way of the food chain, the mycoestrogens make their way to the animal products we eat. 9% of baby formula and up to a quarter of meat-based baby food was found to contain mycoestrogens. These compounds have been correlated with infertility.[1. Valentina Meucci, et al. “Mycoestrogen Pollution of Italian Infant Food.” The Journal of Pediatrics, (2011) 159:2; 278-283.]
2.Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a plasticizer, or hardening additive, used in many food containers including baby food. After the state of Maine banned BPA in sippy cups and other reusable beverage containers, citizens were shocked by the results of a test claiming BPA was still present in many children’s consumables.  The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine tested 12 samples of popular baby foods and found 11 of them to be contaminated by BPA. BPA has been linked to obesity, disruption of thyroid function, and even cancer. The group has petitioned the government for new, more strict regulations.[2. Kevin Miller. “Coalition finds BPA in baby food, launches effort to further curb chemical’s use in Maine.” Bangor (Maine) Daily News. Web. 22 May 2012.] [3. John D. Meeker, Kelly K. Ferguson. “Relationship between Urinary Phthalate and Bisphenol A Concentrations and Serum Thyroid Measures in U.S. Adults and Adolescents from NHANES 2007-08.” Environmental Health Perspectives, (2011) DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1103582.]
3.Earlier this year, researchers from Dartmouth College tested 17 baby formulas and found that two of them included an ingredient known to contain arsenic. The arsenic level in one of the samples was six times the limit for drinking water. The culprit: brown rice grown in soil that had previously been treated with arsenic pesticides on cotton fields in the Southern U.S. The rice is turned into syrup and used in baby formula. The researchers said the evidence presents an “urgent need” for regulatory limits on arsenic in food.
Arsenic is just one of many compounds tested for in water, but not tested for in food. Last year cadmium contamination forced Nestle to pull products from Ireland, and uranium was found in baby food in the UK.[4. Karin Ljung, et al. “High concentrations of essential and toxic elements in infant formula and infant foods – A matter of concern.” Food Chemistry, (2011) 127:3:1; 943–951.] [5. Jackson BP, et al. “Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup.” Environmental Health Perspectives, (2012) 120:5 doi:10.1289/ehp.1104619.]
4.Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine discovered alarming levels of Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) in infant children. In addition to being found in baby formulas, AGEs are prevalent in most processed, fried foods. AGEs are considered to be contributing factors to atherosclerosis, diabetes, aging and chronic renal failure. It is suspected the infants are being exposed to AGEs from baby formula and from a pregnant or nursing mother.
Bottom Line:  In today’s world, it is impossible to protect your children from all the dangerous chemicals in the environment, but you can make a significant difference by making healthier, wiser choices. Choosing options like buying organic, making your own babyfood and breastfeeding are just a few of the options parents have for making the world a safer place for their kids. Maximized Living doctors are equipped to help you design a complete lifestyle to maximize your family’s health.  Make an appointment with your localMaximized Living doctor today.

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