CNN reported that arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury are all naturally occurring elements found in the soil in which crops are grown, meaning they are impossible to avoid. However, higher concentrations of the metals are found in some regions and crop fields, in part due to industrial pollution and the use of pesticides that contain heavy metals. Even at low levels, exposure to heavy metals can cause severe and irreversible damage to neurological development in children.

Independent laboratory

Publication date: 2021

Researchers: Independent laboratory

Reports findings:
Testing confirmed last year that Walmart-branded baby food contained levels of heavy metals that were significantly higher than the maximum safe levels set by the FDA.

Happy Babies Bright Futures (“HBBF”)

Publication date: October 2019

Researchers: Non-profit organization called Happy Babies Bright Futures (“HBBF”)

Reports findings:

  • Published a report of the results of extensive testing performed on 168 different baby foods sold on the U.S. market.
  • The HBBF report found that over 90% of the tested products were contaminated with arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.

Also, 159 of 168 baby foods contained at least one of these metals and most contained more than one.

Congressional Report

Publication date: February 4, 2021

Researchers: Congressional Report—U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy

Reports findings:

  • In 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives analyzed the internal documents of baby food manufacturers and investigated the contents of the baby foods. The committee published their initial findings in February 2021 in a report titled “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury,” The second committee report, issued in late September 2021, shows similar results for three other manufacturers not included in the first report.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits for bottled water sold for adults are:
    • 10 parts per billion (ppb) of inorganic arsenic;
    • 5 ppb of cadmium;
    • 5 ppb of lead;
    • 2 ppb of mercury.
  • The Congressional Baby Food Reports found:
    • Up to 91 times more than the level of arsenic deemed acceptable for adults;
    • Up to 69 times more than the level of cadmium deemed acceptable for adults;
    • Up to 177 times more than the level of lead deemed acceptable for adults;
    • Up to five times more than the level of mercury deemed acceptable for adults.
  • Remember, this information comes from the companies’ own testing and internal documents. Thus, the companies knew that the ingredients going into their products contained those high levels of dangerous metals but did nothing about it.
  • The Congressional Report confirmed the HBBF findings that many major baby food brands contain toxic heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury.
  • Commercial baby foods found to contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. According to the report, exposure to these metals can cause a permanent decrease in IQ and an increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children.
  • The levels of these metals found in the baby food were many times higher than the levels allowed for other products like bottled water. The FDA’s maximum safe level for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb. The baby food brands:
    • Beech-Nut tested as high as 886 ppb for lead.
    • Hain Celestial (Nature’s Best) contained 641 ppb.
    • Other major brands, including Gerber, Campbell’s Plum, and Walmart’s Parent Choice had lead levels from 25–40 ppb, which was still 5–10 times higher than the safe limit.
  • The food manufacturers were well aware that their products contained these high levels of toxic metals.


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