Arsenic strikes again

And this time, with our most vulnerable population

Arsenic shouldn’t be in anyone’s food, and it especially shouldn’t be in baby food. Yet a congressional report found that levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food were worse than expected.

There shouldn’t be any amount of heavy metals in baby food. And still, dangerous levels of cadmium, mercury, arsenic and lead are present in some of the products from the most popular baby food brands.

The report revealed that many baby food manufacturers don’t adequately test their products for toxics, and some didn’t stop selling the baby food that was known to be contaminated. By only testing for singular ingredients, manufacturers grossly underestimate the amount of heavy metals in their products.

For example, the document found that 100% of the Plum’s Super Puff rice-based products tested between 2017 and 2019 had extremely high levels of arsenic.

Heavy metals such as arsenic can impair the neurological development of babies and can even lead to brain damage — but right now, there are virtually no standards on maximum levels of heavy metals allowed in baby food.

If passed, the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 would require stricter testing, limit levels of arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium, and would require that companies comply with these regulations within one year of them becoming law.

In addition to the restrictions laid out by this law, the congressional report recommends that the industry itself play a role in keeping babies safe from toxic metal exposure by adopting a plan to phase out products that have irreconcilable amounts of toxic chemicals.

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Arsenic shouldn't be in anyone's food, and it especially shouldn't be in baby food. Yet a recently released congressional report found that levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food were worse than expected. Tell your senators to support the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 today.

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Credit: Alpha via Flickr, CC BY-NC 4.0

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Gina Goldenberg

Creative Associate, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

Gina writes, edits and designs materials for the PIRG state groups. Gina lives in Boston where she enjoys reading, running and spending time with friends.

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