A new report commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures found that 95% of tested baby foods contain toxic metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.
The study tested 168 baby foods, with one in four products containing all four toxic heavy metals.
Samples tested included 61 brands and 13 types of food, including infant formula, teething biscuits, cereals, and fruit juices.
Each product was selected by parents at their local stores and online.
In light of these findings, Sen. Charles Schumer is now demanding the FDA to investigate the findings and propose regulations to ensure these concerns are addressed.
“When it comes to the first foods we feed our children, we rightfully expect those foods to be undeniably safe, nutritious, and appropriately regulated. We do not expect to learn that those first foods might come with—even a chance—of lasting consequence that could sabotage the development of newborns,” said Senator Schumer. “Simply put, when baby food ingredients across of a variety of brands are called into question, it is the job and charge of the FDA to be the cop on the beat making sure serious questions are answered and appropriate guidelines enforced. Right now, that’s not entirely the case, and it’s a fact pattern that needs to change, because parents are demanding answers.”
Arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are neurotoxins that can permanently alter a baby’s developing brain, erode their IQ and affect their behavior.
According to Schumer, the FDA has failed to introduce any new standards since it established a Toxic Elements Working Group in 2017 to address toxic metals Americans are exposed to, including in food. Schumer says the FDA failed to finalize arsenic guidelines for infant rice cereal and apple juice by the end of 2018, a deadline the agency had set.
Arsenic can cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer and can harm the developing brain and nervous system. The report also identified at least 13 other studies that found a link between arsenic exposure in utero or during the first few years and IQ loss among children.
Lead, even very low exposure levels, cause lower academic achievement, attention deficits, and behavior problems. No safe level of exposure has been identified.
Cadmium is a heavy metal linked to neurotoxicity and cancer, as well as kidney, bone, and heart damage.
Mercury has been found to increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and poor performance on tests of vision and intelligence. It’s also widely accepted that the developing brain is particularly sensitive to mercury exposure.