A new investigation of baby foods sold in the U.S. revealed that the majority of these products contain toxic metals, which may cause permanent harm to an infant’s brain. Researchers tested over 160 baby food products, marketed by some of the nation’s primary manufacturers, ultimately finding neurotoxins like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium in 95 percent. One-quarter of these products contained all four chemicals, known to cause brain development problems, affect behavior, and negatively impact intelligence.
Majority of U.S. Baby Foods Tested Contained Toxic Substances
The recently published study, commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures, sought to identify potential toxins in numerous brands of baby food currently available to American consumers. The investigation uncovered an astonishing reality: babies in the United States may be consuming lead and other heavy metals in their baby food. Sadly, parents may be feeding what appear to be healthy baby foods filled with nutrients to their children, while unknowingly exposing them to chemicals with the potential to cause adverse cognitive effects. Among the 168 baby foods tested, scientists found:
- 95% contained lead
- 73% contained arsenic
- 75% contained cadmium
- 32% contained mercury
One in four of the baby foods included in the study were found to contain all of the above. Each of these chemicals is considered a “heavy metal.” The category of “heavy metals” encompasses a wide variety of highly dense, metallic chemical elements that are poisonous or toxic to humans at relatively low concentrations. In fact, heavy metal toxicity has been linked to serious health risks and may cause significant harm depending on the level, duration, and means of exposure.
What Heavy Metals can do to a Child’s Brain
Heavy metals pose numerous health risks, including negative effects on the human brain. While exposure to chemicals like lead and arsenic can be harmful to adults and children alike, these toxins are particularly harmful to infants and children. Heavy metals are specifically damaging to the brain in the early months and years of life because the brain is still in the process of developing and is thus highly vulnerable to any form of damage or trauma.
Many chemicals, including those found in baby foods, act as neurotoxins. These neurotoxins can cause a reduction in IQ, behavioral issues, impacts on information processing, and damaging effects on brain development. The symptoms caused by exposure to toxic substances in young children are similar to some of those that often result from infant brain damage at birth and other child brain injuries.
As it relates to the specific heavy metals found in the baby foods tested, one study found that exposure to arsenic, even in low concentrations, was correlated with lower scores on intellectual tests and an overall decrease in IQ among children. Additionally, extensive research has confirmed the serious neurological effects of lead exposure, particularly in the young. With regard to cadmium, scientific investigation revealed an association between high exposure during pregnancy and premature birth, as well as reduced birth weights.
Does the FDA Regulate Chemicals in Baby Products?
Due to the known damaging effects of exposure to toxic metals and other chemicals, federal and state regulations and public health initiatives have been put in place to prevent harm to the public. Some of these regulations apply to homes, apartments, and other residential properties, while others address toxic substances in the workplace and prevention of chemical overexposure in the environment. Unfortunately, while the FDA has taken some steps to promote the reduction of certain heavy metals in children’s and baby products, there are currently no active regulations applicable to baby food.
Other everyday products like rice, rice-based cereals and snacks, and juices have become a major source of concern for their high levels of arsenic. The FDA is currently conducting investigations into how these levels may be reduced, and some are lower than previous levels. Still, the troubling results of this investigation and many others demonstrate that much more can be done. The study’s authors called for immediate action by the FDA to reduce children’s exposure to neurotoxins in the first months of life, considering the possible damaging effects on brain development as well as long-term cognitive, intellectual, and behavioral function.
What if my Child has been Injured by a Toxic Product in NJ?
If your child has injuries from a toxic or defective baby product, we encourage you to seek knowledgeable legal counsel. Depending on the type of defect and its impacts on your child, you may have legal options. There are currently numerous products marketed for infants and children that violate safety standards, have been defectively designed or manufactured, or sold without proper warnings. Defective children’s products may contain toxic substances like lead, pose flammability risks, present choking hazards, or otherwise place your baby in harm’s way. When these products, intended to improve your baby’s life, instead cause direct harm, you may have the right to hold product manufacturers and other parties responsible for negligence.
Please contact our distinguished team of New Jersey child injury attorneys for additional information and an absolutely free consultation about your case. You can reach us by phone at 866-708-8617 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers free of charge. A member of our team is available 24/7 to assist you, so don’t hesitate to find answers to your questions today.