That first baby is always the cause of a dichotomy of feelings for parents. No doubt, they have been waiting and hoping for a healthy bundle of joy and are happy to take on the responsibilities of raising a son or daughter. However, they still worry about all sorts of things from whether they will be good parents to the well being of the child.

By the time the second baby comes, parents are more laid back. They have a “been there, done that” attitude and are more confident about their parental skills.

Still there is plenty to worry about for parents whether the birth is of their first or fifth child.

The Clean Label Project, an advocacy group located in Denver, Colorado that favors more transparency in product labeling, has found that a threat exists to babies in baby foods. The group has found that many well-known brands of baby foods contain arsenic and other contaminants that can threaten a child’s life.

According to the group, 80% of infant formulas it tested were contaminated. Arsenic was the most common of the toxins with 65% of the products testing positive. Rice-based baby foods, including Snack Puffs, had the highest levels of arsenic and one-third of the products tested positive for lead, 58% for cadmium and 10% for acrylamide.

The study involved 530 of the best-selling baby food products according to Nielsen data.

The Clean Label Project test results discovered that the worst brands included Gerber, Enfamil, Plum Organics, and Sprout, which all had products that measured highly for toxic metals. In addition, The Clean Label Project discovered that certified organic baby food had twice the amount of arsenic as conventional baby foods.

What Is Arsenic?

Arsenic is a chemical used in herbicides and pesticides and is highly toxic for humans. It is classified as a Class 1 carcinogen along with asbestos and formaldehyde, and has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver and prostate. It is found in many foods because of the use of contaminated water in preparing the food for consumption.

It is also a heavy metal that is a natural component of the Earth’s crust. It comes in inorganic and organic forms and is found in water, rocks, soil, air and seafood. It can be absorbed into the skin, consumed or inhaled and absorbed by plants as they grow. The Food And Drug Administration (FDA) warns that arsenic can be found in grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also warns that rice absorbs arsenic from the environment more than other types of grains.

Symptoms Of Arsenic Poisoning

A person who consumes arsenic will show symptoms within 30 minutes.

Arsenic poisoning symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, severe headache, mild to severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypotension, fever, hemolysis, seizures, changes in mental status, and parenthesis of the hands and feet. Long-term exposure can lead to a thickening of the skin, darker skin, heart disease, numbness, and cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the only way to prevent exposure to arsenic is for the development and use of a safe water supply for drinking, food preparation and irrigation of food crops.

Tests are available that diagnose arsenic poisoning by measuring its amounts in blood, urine, hair, and fingernails. The most reliable of these tests is a urine examination within 24 to 48 hours after exposure. Examination of hair and fingernails are performed if exposure to arsenic has occurred for more than 6 to 12 months.

Treatment for arsenic poisoning include blood transfusions, consumption of mineral supplements to lower the risk of possible fatal heart rhythm problems, bowel irrigation to flush out traces of arsenic to prevent absorption into the gut, and the use of certain chemicals including dimercaptosuccinic acid and dimercaprol to block the arsenic from the blood’s proteins.

What Parents Can Do

Many pediatricians suggest that parents make homemade foods for their babies and advise that they purchase a food processor to make the task easier. Mom can make a lot of food and freeze it overnight in an ice cube tray. The next day you can pop the frozen cubes into a large freezer container for storage. Each cube contains about one ounce of food. Prior to serving the meal, mom simply takes a few cubes out of the freezer and let them thaw.

In addition, the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that you feed your baby iron-fortified cereals, rice cereal fortified with iron, oat, barley and multigrain, and provide a well balanced diet to toddlers that contains an assortment of grains.

For more information, visit The Clean Label Project website.

If you discover that your baby has consumed arsenic, take him or her immediately to the emergency room of a hospital or to your baby’s pediatrician. Follow all instructions given. Once you have confirmed that your baby is okay, contact an attorney.

The Eichholz Law Firm has vast experience in product liability litigation. As Savannah, Georgia’s personal injury attorneys, we take pride in our ability to protect the rights of all Georgia residents. If your child has consumed any food product you believe has arsenic, contact us immediately.