Toxic Metals in Baby Food Remains a “Pervasive” Problem, According to Testing By Bloomberg Law
- Baby food sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut, Hain, Nurture and other companies have been found to contain high levels of toxic metals
- Concerns about the problems were first raised in a congressional report in 2021
- Testing found high levels of toxic metal in baby food still being sold in July 2022
- Findings come as parents continue to pursue lawsuits over autism, ADHD and other injuries allegedly caused by the toxic metals
- LEARN MORE ABOUT BABY FOOD AUTISM AND ADHD LAWSUITS
Almost two years after a congressional report highlighted the widespread problem with toxic metals in baby food products sold by several major manufacturers, recent testing conducted as part of an investigative report confirms that the problem remains “pervasive”, without any immediate regulatory steps being taken that will remove the toxic metals from baby food still being sold nationwide.
Concerns over high levels of lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic in baby food first emerged in February 2021, when the U.S. House Oversight Committee published the results of data turned over by Beech-Nut, Gerber, Hain and Nurture, Inc., about the levels of toxic metals in their baby food products, and the ingredients used to create them.
The report raised alarms among many health experts, with most popular baby food manufacturers reporting that they only periodically test their ingredients for quality control, but never actually test the final products for heavy metal concentrations before putting them on store shelves for infants. The toxic metals in baby food have been linked to an increased risk of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other problems for growing babies.
Since the congressional subcommittee report, a growing number of toxic baby food lawsuits have been filed by familie nationwide, alleging that the heavy metals in baby food caused their children to develop autism and/or severe ADHD.
Currently, the FDA and EPA set the maximum allowable levels of arsenic in bottled water at 10 parts per billion (ppb), with the allowable levels of lead and cadmium only 5 ppb, and mercury is limited to 2 ppb in drinking water. However, there are currently no standards for the amount of these heavy metals allowed in baby food products.
For comparison, the House report found Gerber, Beech-Nut, Nurture (Happy BABY brand), Hain (Earth’s Best Organic brand), Campbell (Plum Organics brand) and Sprout Organic Foods contained up to 91 times the arsenic level in bottled water, up to 177 times the lead level, up to 69 times the cadmium level, and up to 5 times the mercury level.
Bloomberg Baby Food Testing: 2023 Report
Given the perceived lack of immediate enforceable action by regulatory officials, Bloomberg Law released the findings of new baby food heavy metal testing (subscription required) on January 5, indicating that little has been done to address the problems or remove the contaminants from products that continue to be sold to families.
Bloomberg researchers purchased 33 baby food product in July 2022, and sent them to an accredited laboratory that works closely with the food industry to be tested for levels of arsenic, cadmium, and lead. The report found all but one of the 33 baby food products tested contained at least two toxic heavy metals.
In 2021, new legislation was proposed that would have set safe limits for toxic metals in baby food. However, that measure failed to move forward. Bloomberg looked at those proposed numbers and compared them to their testing results. Some of the baby food that tested positive for heavy metals at levels that would have exceeded the proposed limits included;
Gerber Grain and Grow Banana Puffs
- 60 ppb inorganic arsenic
- 90 ppb cadmium
Plum Organics: Little Teethers Blueberry
- 42 ppb inorganic arsenic
- 60 ppb cadmium
Plum Organics Superpuffs – Blueberry with Purple Sweet Potato
- 90 ppb inorganic Arsenic
- 90 ppb cadmium
- 90 ppb lead
Sprout Organics CoComelon Organic Snack Bar
- 10 ppb cadmium
- 20 ppb lead
Walmart (Parent’s Choice) Organic Strawberry Rice Rusks
- 30 ppb inorganic Arsenic
- 50 ppb lead
The report indicates that the problems are pervasive, and little has been done to remove toxic metals from baby food, despite the FDA maintaining that the products and their ingredients are generally safe for infants.
However, the reason for the FDA’s failure to implement a strategic plan to increase the safety of baby food has been up for speculation. According to Bloomberg, the agency may be looking to make slower baby food ingredient mandates because it is afraid of accidentally sparking a baby food shortage.
Contaminated Baby Food Legislation
After concerns emerged about the dangerous levels of heavy metals in baby food, legislators took action by preparing a series of bills that would require mandatory limits on the allowable levels of these toxins in baby food.
In early 2021, Senators and representatives introduced The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, in an effort to set regulatory limits on the presence of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in baby food products. The bill sought to set limits of 10 parts per billion (ppb) of inorganic arsenic in baby food, and 15 ppb for cereal. It would also set a limit of 5 ppb (10 ppb) for cereal) for lead; 5 ppb (10 ppb for cereal) for cadmium; and 2 ppb for all baby food, including cereal, for mercury. However, the bill failed to move forward, with the last action occurring in March 2021, when it was referred to the Subcommittee on Health.
Aside from legislative action, the FDA began using its administrative power to design a new program called “Closer to Zero”, which seeks to address concerns over the levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in baby food in the next several years. However, the program will only establish recommendations, or action levels, rather than setting a mandatory maximum limits.
January 2023 Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit Update
Parents nationwide are currently pursuing baby food lawsuits over toxic metals in Gerber, Beach Nut, Nurture, Earth’s Best, Plum’s Organics, Sprout Foods, Walmart Parent’s Choice and other popular brands sold in recent years.
Each of the lawsuits raise similar allegations, indicating that children may have avoided a diagnosis of autism or ADHD if they had not been fed baby food contaminated with toxic heavy metals.
Throughout 2023, the size of the litigation is expected to increase, and the manufacturers are currently refusing to offer toxic baby food settlements for children or families.
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