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Common Baby Food Shown to Contain Unhealthy Levels of Heavy Metals

A new study finds 95 percent of tested baby foods contain toxic chemicals that lower babies’ IQ, including arsenic and lead.

What it means for babies’ health: The chemicals found in baby food – arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury – are neurotoxins that can permanently alter the developing brain, erode IQ, and affect behavior.

Why baby foods contain these toxic heavy metals: These four harmful metals are found in all food – not just baby food. They occur naturally or from pollution in the environment. Crops absorb them from soil and water, and they are even found in organic food. Their presence in baby food raises unique concern, because babies are more sensitive to the toxic impacts.

What parents can do: Some popular baby foods have higher levels, like rice-based snacks, juice, and sweet potatoes. Parents can make five safer baby food choices for 80 percent less toxic metal residue.


Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury

Staff Report

Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform U.S. House of Representatives February 4, 2021

Inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are toxic heavy metals. The Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have declared them dangerous to human health, particularly to babies and children, who are most vulnerable to their neurotoxic effects. Even low levels of exposure can cause serious and often irreversible damage to brain development. On November 6, 2019, following reports alleging high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods, the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy requested internal documents and test results from seven of the largest manufacturers of baby food in the United States, including both makers of organic and conventional products:

• Nurture, Inc. (Nurture), which sells Happy Family Organics, including baby food products under the brand name HappyBABY

• Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)

• Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Hain), which sells baby food products under the brand name Earth’s Best Organic

• Gerber

• Campbell Soup Company (Campbell), which sells baby food products under the brand name Plum Organics

• Walmart Inc. (Walmart), which sells baby food products through its private brand Parent’s Choice

• Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)

Four of the companies—Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber—responded to the Subcommittee’s requests. They produced their internal testing policies, test results for ingredients and/or finished products, and documentation about what the companies did with ingredients and/or finished products that exceeded their internal testing limits. Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods refused to cooperate with the Subcommittee’s investigation. The Subcommittee is greatly concerned that their lack of cooperation might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.


2021-02-04 ECP Baby Food Staff Report
Download PD • 2.06MB

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