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Heavy Metals in Baby Foods: Industry Cannot Dictate Acceptable Levels

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Consumer attorney Pedram Esfandiary from the national law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman submitted a public comment this week to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its “Closer to Zero” action plan for heavy metals in baby foods.

Esfandiary represents hundreds of children suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD) as a result of being exposed to toxic heavy metals – specifically lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium – in baby foods from several U.S. manufacturers, including:

•             Nurture – Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY

•             Beech-Nut

•             Hain Celestial Group – Earth’s Best Organic

•             Plum Organics

•             Walmart – Parent’s Choice

•             Sprout Foods – Sprout Organic Food

•             Gerber

The legal cases stem from a government report issued in February that found baby foods from the companies above are “tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.” Chillingly, the report also notes that the companies “knowingly sell these products to unsuspecting parents, in spite of internal company standards and test results, and without any warning labeling whatsoever.”

Following the report, FDA initiated the “Closer to Zero” action plan to reduce children’s exposure to heavy metals in baby foods to levels that are “as low as possible.” While Esfandiary says he applauds the agency for taking much-needed action on this issue, he notes that the Agency “must endeavor to eliminate the presence of such poisons,” as they have no business in baby foods.

In his FDA public comment on the Closer to Zero action plan, Esfandiary writes that if children are to be protected from the scientifically-backed link between heavy metals exposure and neurodevelopmental disorders, the FDA must urgently recognize and act on the threat that tainted baby foods pose to children’s health:

The well-being of future generations should not be predicated on the levels that industry deems economically acceptable to achieve for the foods that companies manufacture. The Agency’s goal must be the eradication of such metals from baby foods. However, even if the Agency is to ensure that metal levels in foods are “as low as possible”, that goal can only be met if the Agency acknowledges the very real risk to the health of children posed by these metals today.

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About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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