(KTXL) — A troubling new government report reveals baby food products from several of the country’s largest manufacturers contain toxic heavy metals, some with the potential to cause severe brain disfunction in infants and young children.
Jane Houlihan with Healthy Babies Bright Futures is joining forces with the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy to expose popular brands like Beech-Nut, Gerber, Earth’s Best and others for selling baby food products with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals.
Houlihan said it’s an issue that has been happening with these companies for over a decade.
“This new report issued today shows that despite the fact that companies have known for years about this problem, they are not taking care of it voluntarily,” Houlihan explained. “We’re finding lead and arsenic and cadmium, toxic heavy metals in about 95% of the baby foods that are tested.”
Houlihan said there’s a reason why these metals are being found.
“These are naturally occurring in the environment,” she said. “Sometimes they’re from old pesticides that are now banned, but they’re still in soil.”
Exposure to these harmful elements can lead to severe developmental results.
“Behavioral problems, ADHD is linked to lead,” Houlihan said. “Over 11 million IQ points are lost across the population just from children’s exposure to these heavy metals.”
Beech-Nut and Gerber have both come out publicly against the study, saying the products are healthy and safe for children.
“It totally concerns me!” exclaimed mother Samantha Bryce.
After hearing how the common Gerber and Beech-Nut products she buys for her two children may be tainted with toxic metals, Bryce said she was hoping the big brand companies take more action.
“Gerber is a company that’s been around for, I believe, over 50 years. So if that’s something that’s been in food for that long, we’ve got to do something about it,” she said.
For Sacramento mom Jaclyn Sexton, buying a widely-used baby food brand for her infant daughter is nothing out of the ordinary, nor is making baby food from scratch.
“I realized how easy it was for friends to make it yourself,” Sexton explained.
But Houlihan said the metals “are in all foods, whether you’re buying the baby food brands or buying from the produce aisle.”
Houlihan said they are waiting for the Baby Food Safety Act to pass that would call on the Food and Drug Administration to set better standards for heavy metals in baby food and more regulations for these companies.