A recent report from the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Oversight and Reform reveals heavy metals contamination in seven popular brands of baby foods. The heavy metals at issue include inorganic arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury – all of which have been deemed to be dangerous to human health by both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). These metals are widely understood to exhibit neurotoxic effects and babies and young children in particular are at high risk. Even low levels of exposure to these metals can cause irreversible damage to a child’s developing brain.
The House’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy conducted its investigation into seven of the largest baby food manufacturers in the United States, including Nurture, Inc. (makers of HappyBABY), Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (makers of Earth’s Best Organic), Gerber, Walmart, Campbell and Sprout Organic Foods. Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber produced internal testing policies and results, along with documents regarding their handling of ingredients or finished products. Walmart, Campbell and Sprout Organic Foods refused to cooperate in the investigation.
Test results of the four cooperating brands showed that all baby foods manufactured by these companies contained high levels of toxic metals. For instance, Beech-Nut used ingredients that tested as high as 913.4 ppb (parts per billion) for arsenic, 886.9 ppb lead and 344.55 ppb cadmium. Over 25 percent of Nurture’s products contained over 100 ppb arsenic; 20 percent contained over 10 ppb lead (with some products testing as high as 641 ppb lead); and 65 percent contained more than 5 ppb cadmium. Gerber’s rice flour tested over 90 ppb arsenic, with many of its ingredients containing 20 ppb lead, and 87 ppb cadmium. For comparison, the FDA’s maximum arsenic levels for bottled water stand at 10 ppb mercury, 5 ppb lead, and 5 ppb cadmium. Of the cooperating companies, only Nurture tested for mercury, with testing indicating the presence of 10 ppb in its products. Independent testing of Walmart, Sprout Organic Foods and Campbell baby foods showed concerning levels of toxic metals as well, despite their refusal to cooperate with the House’s requests.
You can read the full report here, but it goes without saying these findings raise tremendous concern as the consequences of neonatal or early developmental exposure to these harmful neurotoxins could cause a lifetime of debilitating impacts on child and family alike. Understandably, litigation is under way with at least two different lawsuits having already been filed. If you believe your child has been impacted by the consumption of contaminated baby food, you should contact an experienced law firm like Bordas & Bordas right away to explore your rights.