Blumenthal Reiterates Demand for FDA to Set Limits on Toxic Metals in Baby and Toddler Food

[HARTFORD, CT]— Following a new report that found the presence of heavy metals in 95 percent of tested baby foods, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action. Earlier this year, another study conducted by Consumer Reports showed that forty-five popular fruit juices marketed to children had detectable levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic or lead.

“Parents count on the FDA to help protect their kids from exposure to heavy metals in their food, but this federal regulator is clearly failing. More than a year after I first raised the alarm over toxic heavy metals in foods produced and marketed specifically to babies and toddlers, 95 percent of baby food on the market still contains dangerous metals, like inorganic arsenic, lead, and cadmium. I directly confronted baby food manufacturers and received utterly inadequate responses claiming compliance with the law, but failing to take responsibility for the safety of their product,” Blumenthal said.

“The FDA must set strong standards that require baby food to have no measurable amount of these heavy metals in children's food products, and companies must swiftly remove these toxins. Anything short is a repugnant failure to protect children from irreversible health impacts during critical developmental years.”

Last October, Blumenthal and U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) wrote to the FDA urging the agency to promptly establish mandatory standards to strictly limit heavy metals in children’s food. The senators also wrote directly to baby food manufacturers urging them to remove potentially toxic heavy metals from their products. The senators again pressed the FDA to limit heavy metals in children's food, including fruit juices, in a February 2019 letter to the agency.

Children eat and drink more per pound of body weight than adults and are more likely to be harmfully exposed to heavy metals. In addition, children are particularly vulnerable to heavy metals because their bodies and brains are still developing. These toxic elements have been linked to carcinogenic, cognitive, and reproductive harms, as well as behavioral problems and lower IQ.