10 Tips To Avoid Heavy Metals In Baby Food

The presence of toxic heavy metals in baby food made national headlines in February 2021 when a staff report from the United States House of Representatives declared that several baby foods which were tested contained high levels of toxic heavy metals. The report included some truly shocking numbers:

  • Some baby foods contained as much as 177 times the level of lead allowed by the FDA
  • Some baby foods contained as much as 91 times the level of arsenic allowed by the FDA
  • Some baby foods contained as much as 69 times the level of cadmium allowed by the FDA
  • Some baby foods contained as much as 5 times the level of mercury allowed by the FDA

These toxic heavy metals have been linked with numerous conditions in children, including ADHD and autism spectrum disorder.

Ways to avoid exposing your baby to toxic heavy metals include:

1. Avoid Feeding Your Baby Rice

Rice absorbs far more arsenic when compared to other grains. Avoid feeding your baby rice or products containing rice, such as rice puffs, crisped rice cereal, rice cakes, brown rice syrup or rice milk.

Instead of feeding your baby rice and products containing rice, feed your baby whole grains like quinoa, bulgar, farro, barley, oats and multigrain cereals.

If you do feed your baby rice, keep the rice consumption to a minimum, and cook the rice in plenty of water like pasta. When you cook rice in plenty of water then drain the water, you drain about 60 percent of its arsenic out with the water. This is simple: you bring a pot of water to a boil, add the dry rice, simmer the dry rice for 25 minutes, drain the rice, return the rice to the pot, cover the pot and allow the rice to steam for 10 more minutes, then it’s done.

Definitely avoid feeding your baby brown rice or products containing brown rice, as brown rice contains more arsenic than white rice.

2. Feed Your Baby a Variety of Healthy Foods

The amount of heavy metals your baby is exposed to can be lowered by way of feeding your baby a balanced diet. It is important to rotate the foods that your baby eats even if you feed your baby homemade or organic baby food.

Start feeding your baby solids by feeding them pureed meats, fruits and vegetables instead of baby cereal. Or, instead of feeding your baby purees, you can try baby-led weaning, which is putting chunks of soft, solid food directly on the table or highchair tray and allowing your baby to grab the food with their hands and feed themself.

3. Read Labels

One good option might be baby food blends with multiple ingredients. However, you should know that many of these foods have the same first and/or second ingredient. Different blends of flavor, such as pumpkin/spinach or pear/kale, might actually have the first ingredient be sweet potatoes. It’s vital to read labels to make sure you’re feeding your baby a truly varied, balanced diet.

4. Feed Your Baby Whole Foods Instead of Processed Snacks

Your baby should eat as much whole foods as possible instead of eating processed snacks such as oat ring cereals or rice puffs.

Whole foods you can feed your baby include:

  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Barley with diced vegetables
  • Grapes
  • Cheese
  • Peaches
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Strawberries

Feeding your child healthy foods like these will also expose your child to less refined flour, salt and added sugar. Be sure to cut any food into adequately small pieces in order to avoid creating choking hazards.

If you must serve prepared snacks to your baby, choose options which are rice-free options or multigrain.

5. Breastfeed, if Possible

If it is possible, breastfeed your baby. This can reduce their exposure to heavy metals when compared with formula feeding.

6. Test Your Water

If you prepare cereals or infant formula with tap water, you should consider testing the water in your home for lead. Tap water can contain heavy metals, especially tap water which passes through old pipes or is sourced from a well. If you have concerns about your tap water, make your baby’s food and bottles with bottled water, as heavy metal amounts in bottled water are limited by the FDA.

7. Continue to Feed Your Baby Limited Amounts of Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

These foods have important nutrients in them. However, their consumption should be limited, as, since they are grown in the ground, they contain higher levels of heavy metals than other vegetables. They should be served along with additional vegetables and fruits so your baby has a well-balanced diet.

Always wash these vegetables and peel them before serving them to your baby.

Other foods which should be limited are cantaloupe and spinach.

8. Avoid Giving Fruit Juice to Your Baby

Some fruit juices may contain problematic amounts of toxic heavy metals. Some grape juices and apple juices can contain lead and inorganic arsenic. In addition, it is not recommended to give children under the age of one fruit juice because this can cause weight gain and cavities. The best drinks are breast milk or formula milk for infants, and milk and water for older children.

Rather than giving your baby juice, give fruit to your baby, which has more nutrients and fiber.

If you do give your child juice, it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit your child’s fruit juice consumption to four ounces per day if they are one to three years old.

9. Feed Low-Mercury Fish to Your Baby

There are many beneficial nutrients in fish, and your baby can start eating fish very soon after beginning to eat solids.

However, you should avoid feeding your baby fish which are high in mercury, like:

  • Tilefish
  • Swordfish
  • Marlin
  • King mackerel
  • Tuna

Instead, you should feed your baby fish that is low in mercury, such as:

  • Whitefish
  • Tilapia
  • Cod
  • Salmon

10. Don’t Give Your Baby Teething Biscuits

Instead of giving your baby teething biscuits, you should give them a wet washcloth or a cold, but not frozen teether to chew on.


Heavy metals in food can be dangerous to newborns. It’s important to minimize heavy metal exposure to protect your children and set them up for a healthy future. While it takes effort to avoid heavy-metal exposure, you can’t put a price on the health of your child.

We are not doctors and this is in no way intended to be used as medical advice and we cannot be held responsible for your results. As with any product, service or supplement, use at your own risk. Always do your own research before using.

We are not lawyers and this is in no way intended to be used as legal advice . We cannot be held responsible for your results. Always do your own research and seek professional legal help.

Leave a Comment