CHICAGO - There's a new push in Congress to force baby food manufactures to control pesticide, fertilizer and contamination levels in baby foods.
"Baby food has dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium, and the FDA is not unfortunately regulating this space properly," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).
Congress recently demanded that baby food manufacturers turn over test results. Krishnamoorthi said the metals were found in foods at a variety of price points, even those labeled organic, and that manufacturers are undercounting the amount of heavy metals by 28 to 93 percent.
"There are at least four sources that are manmade that we can control," Krishnamoorthi said, listing off pesticides, fertilizers, additives and industrial contamination of water and soil.
Krishnamoorthi introduced legislation this week to control some of those factors and force baby food manufacturers to follow strict standards and conduct regular testing.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO ABOUT ARSENIC AND HEAVY METALS IN BABY FOOD?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents of newborns limit root vegetables and avoid rice products altogether. They suggest introducing a variety of grains, using fresh or frozen produce, and avoiding fruit juice.
"It's important that we're offering babies a variety of ingredients in their foods and that's true whether we're making it or whether we're buying it," said Dr. Aparna Bole of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Bole says it's long been known baby food products with rice can contain arsenic. She said any exposure to heavy metals, over time, can lower IQ and cause behavior disorders.
MOMS OF NEWBORNS WORRIED ABOUT BABY FOOD SAFETY
New mom Michelle Kallick said she's trying to stay informed about the risks of processed baby foods as she juggles life with little Hailey.
"I was definitely worried about it because I want to give Hailey the best food possible," Kallick said. "You just want to make sure you're making all the right decisions and you get all the facts."