The following article is taken from TODAYonline from here.
04:47 AM Apr 11, 2011LONDON - Baby foods used to wean infants off milk have been found to contain "alarming" levels of toxic contaminants including arsenic, lead and cadmium, in tests conducted in Sweden.
The products tested by researchers were made by major baby food manufacturers including Organix, Hipp, Nestle and Holle.
Researchers found feeding infants twice a day on the shop-bought baby foods such as rice porridge can increase their exposure to arsenic by up to fifty times when compared to breast feeding alone.
Exposure to other toxic metals such as cadmium, which is known to cause neurological and kidney damage, increased by up to 150 times in some of the foods tested, while lead increased by up to eight times.
Although none of the levels of the toxic elements found in the foods exceeded official safety limits, scientists believe they are still of concern if fed to very young children and have demanded new guidelines to restrict their presence in food.
Young infants are thought to be particularly vulnerable to these substances because they are going through rapid development.
Writing in the journal of Food Chemistry, the scientists from the Unit of Metals and Health at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm said: "Alarmingly, these complementary foods may also introduce high amounts of toxic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and uranium, mainly from their raw materials.
"These elements have to be kept at an absolute minimum in food products intended for infant consumption. In infant foods, the high concentrations of arsenic in the rice-based foods are of particular concern."
Experts now believe there are no safe limits for arsenic and manufacturers should be making more efforts to remove it from their food.
Professor Andrew Meharg, a biogeochemist at Aberdeen University who has studied the presence of arsenic in rice, said the latest research highlighted the urgent need for new restrictions on arsenic and other toxic elements in food. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH