(NEXSTAR) – A host of top baby foods are contaminated with heavy metals, a new congressional report found.
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform conducted the study, finding “high levels of toxic heavy metals” in certain baby foods, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.
The report references a 2019 study that found 95 percent of baby foods tested contain toxic chemicals, including lead and arsenic.
Four companies, including Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber, responded to the committee’s request for information. Walmart, Campbell and Sprout Organic Foods refused to cooperate.
“Foods contain heavy metals often from how they’re grown,” said Marcie Lusk, Nurse Practitioner at Hospitality Health ER. “The soil itself contains heavy metals, and certain foods like rice or sweet potatoes, just because of how they’re grown contain more of these substances naturally.”
Lusk also mentioned how Juices contain heavy metals.
Exposure to heavy metals can cause “permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children,” according to the report. Toxic heavy metals also endanger infant neurological development and long term brain function.
The results from the study found “multiples higher” of heavy metals than allowed under existing FDA levels, including results up to 91 times the arsenic level, 177 times the lead level, 69 times the cadmium level and 5 times the mercury level.
The report found that current testing is “inadequate” and claimed that the Trump administration “took no new action in response.”
The report also claims that companies routinely ignore internal standards and fail to test their finished products.
“This compelling new evidence lays bare FDA’s clear failure to protect babies from the toxic heavy metals in their food,” said Charlotte Brody, National Director of Healthy Babies Bright Futures, in a press release. “While FDA studies the problem and companies set lax internal standards, millions of babies are exposed to these contaminants every day. It is time to step up and finally take clear action.”
To learn how to keep babies safe, you can visit the Healthy Babies, Bright Future FAQ sheet here.