*Title: Pesticides in US baby food &amp&amp


A recent study based on an independent analysis of US baby food products found 16 different pesticides in eight major baby foods. Researchers with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned a food industry lab to analyse eight foods which form a significant part of the average infant's first-year diet: apple sauce, peaches, pears, plums, green beans, squash, sweet potatoes and garden vegetables (or pea and carrot blend).
The products tested were made by the three largest US baby food producers: Gerber, Heinz and Beech-Nut, whose sales account for 96% of all baby food sold in the US. They were tested for pesticides using the Food and Drug Administration's standard pesticide analytical methods.
In the case of five of those foods, pesticides were detected in two-thirds or more of all samples. The study found 16 different pesticides, including three probable human carcinogens, five possible human carcinogens, five pesticides that disrupt the endocrine system and eight nervous system toxins.
The pesticide found most often and at the highest levels was iprodione, a fungicide used primarily on peaches and plums, and classified as a probable human carcinogen by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
While all of the pesticides were at levels well below federal limits, according to the EWG, federal limits do not provide adequate protection for infants and children, nor do they account for the toxicity of these pesticides in combination or in terms of the overall load of pesticides to which an infant may be exposed.
In an EWG press release for the study, Philip J. Landrigan, MD, stated that instead of heeding the recommendations of the 1993 National Academy of Sciences report on children and pesticides, Congress is engaged in actions that will make already weak pesticide standards even weaker.
Landrigan chaired a five-year study released in 1993 that strongly recommended tougher safeguards to protect infants and children from pesticides. According to Landrigan, "While no single residue found in baby food presents an immediate health threat, exposure to pesticides that begins in infancy may contribute over a lifetime to an increased incidence of diseases, such as cancer, or to subtle or serious loss of function in delicate and rapidly developing organ systems such as the nervous, immune, or endocrine systems that are highly vulnerable during infancy." [From Pesticide Action Network North America Updates Service.]