How can we get toxic heavy metals out of baby food?

Aaron Colonnese

Former Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

This blog was authored by Creative Team Intern Lauren Malster.


Parents should be able to be confident that the food they’re giving their babies is healthy and safe, but unfortunately that’s not always the case: A recently released congressional report found that dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals are in products sold by the seven largest baby food manufacturers.


Baby food contains dangerous and toxic heavy metals

While arsenic shouldn’t be in anyone’s food, it most certainly shouldn’t be in baby food. Yet, the congressional report found that “100% of the Plum’s Super Puff rice-based products tested between 2017 and 2019 had extremely high levels of arsenic.”

And unfortunately, it’s not just arsenic: Dangerous levels of mercury and lead were also present in some of the products sold by major baby food brands.

Research has shown that heavy metals such as arsenic can impair the neurological development of babies and even lead to brain damage. Clearly, we need to do more to protect our babies.


Manufacturers are not doing adequate testing

The congressional report revealed that many baby food manufacturers don’t adequately test their products for toxic heavy metals, and that some manufacturers didn’t stop selling the baby food even after it was known to contain them.

By only testing for singular ingredients, manufacturers are grossly underestimating the amount of heavy metals in their products. Manufacturers can get away with these questionable practices because the U.S. has virtually no standards on the maximum levels of toxic heavy metals allowed in baby food.


The answer? The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021

The Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, which was introduced in Congress in March, would require stricter testing and would limit the levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in baby food. The act would also require all baby food manufacturers to be compliant with the updated standards within one year.

Additionally, the congressional report recommends that the baby food industry itself play a role in keeping babies safe from toxic heavy metal exposure by adopting a plan to phase out any and all products that have high amounts of the toxic metals.

Babies deserve better — take action today.


Aaron Colonnese

Former Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

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