Following a congressional investigation that found that many top-brand baby foods contain dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is announcing her support of the Baby Food Safety Act. Exposure to toxic heavy metals endangers infant neurological development and may cause a variety of health issues, including permanent decreases in IQ, disruptive behavior, or socialization challenges in growing children. The Baby Food Safety Act would limit the amount of lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium contained in baby food by imposing strict requirements on manufacturers to regularly test and verify that their baby foods are under new, lowered limits for these substances. The legislation would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to further lower limits for toxic metals within two years, to put regulations in place within three years, and to review the regulatory limits every five years.
“It is outrageous that trusted brands are knowingly selling toxic baby food to unsuspecting parents,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Lead and other heavy metals cause serious and permanent damage to our children’s health. We must act now to keep our kids safe and I’m proud to be introducing this bill that will do just that.”
A recent investigative report from Politico found serious deficiencies in the FDA’s efforts to keep toxic elements out of baby food. The baby food industry currently self-regulates and often disregards its own standards for toxic heavy metals. Many brands of juice, candy, and water have also been found to contain high levels of lead and cadmium.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and was also cosponsored by Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
The full text of the legislation is available here.