Why should I worry about heavy metals in baby food? - Little Étoile

Why should I worry about heavy metals in baby food?

How heavy metals affect babies

High heavy metal exposure in babies and children can impact their health and development, building up over time and potentially causing health conditions in later life. Behavioral issues such as attention deficit disorder (ADHD), neurological damage, autism, anemia, and gastrointestinal dysfunction are just a few examples of how high heavy metal exposure may affect the development of your baby (1-3, 5).

How do heavy metals end up in our food?

Heavy metals like mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium occur naturally in the environment, however certain foods absorb more than others during the growing process, either through the soil or water (4). Additionally, the use of pesticides and fertilizes in commercial farming methods increases the heavy metal content in the soil, which is then reflected in the crops. Recent testing commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) on 168 baby foods, found toxic heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium) in 95% of products tested, and 25% of products tested contained all four contaminants (5). The findings of this research reflect similar findings to a previous study by the US Food & Drug Administration, whereby at least one of the same four metals was found in 33 of the 39 tested baby foods (6).

The importance of heavy metal testing in baby food

Every single Little Étoile Organic food pouch is independently tested for heavy metals including Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, and Cadmium, ensuring all baby foods are found to be below the detectable limit, and compliant with Australian food safety guidelines. What you feed your baby is fundamental to their development and ongoing health, and avoiding heavy metals is an important factor in maintaining this.

Heavy Metal Percentage of baby food products heavy metals are found Potential Affect in Baby and Later Life
Linked to increase in skin cancers, skin lesions, heart disease and neurotoxicity
Negatively affect growth, behaviour and ability to learn including lowering IQ
Toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes
Suppress the immune system and increased risk of learning disability
Higher risk foods Safer alternative
Teething foods Teething biscuits and rice rusks Other soothing foods for teething – frozen banana or chilled cucumber
Snacks Puff snacks (rice) Rice-free snacks Cereal Infant rice cereal
Infant oatmeal cereal Drinks Fruit juice Tap water
Fruits and Veggies Carrots and sweet potatoes Variety that include carrots, sweet potatoes and other choices


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14757716
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427717/
  3. https://www.who.int/ceh/capacity/heavy_metals.pdf
  4. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/topics/topic/metals-contaminants-food
  5. https://www.healthybabyfood.org/sites/healthybabyfoods.org/files/2019-10/BabyFoodReport_EXEC-SUMM-ENGLISH_R5b.pdf
  6. https://www.fda.gov/food/guidance-documents-regulatory-information-topic-food-and-dietary-supplements/infant-formula-guidance-documents-regulatory-information
  7. https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/multimedia/multimedia_pub/multimedia_pub_fsf_14_02.html
  8. https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/heavy-metal-poisoning/ 9. Rai, P.K., et al., Heavy metals in food crops; Health risks, fate, mechanisms, and management. Environment International, 2019. 125: p. 365-368.