Senators introduce bill to limit heavy metals found in baby food

Lawmakers have introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate to limit heavy metals in baby food - ConsumerAffairs

There are considerable health and developmental risks associated with exposure to these metals

A group of U.S. Senators are working on a new bill that would limit the amount of heavy metals that are currently found in baby food

The bill, the Baby Food Safety Act of 2024, is designed to target three specific areas: 

  • Raise standards for baby foods to protect infants and toddlers from heavy metals

  • Set standards for sampling/tasting of baby food products for potential contaminants

  • Allow the FDA to enforce stricter safety standards for baby foods

“Parents want what’s best for their children, and they deserve peace of mind, knowing the food they purchase for their babies and toddlers is safe,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). “This legislation will boost food safety standards and require more complete testing by manufacturers to prevent heavy metals from poisoning our kids.” 

Keeping infants safe

Currently, the FDA has only imposed restrictions for heavy metals in two types of baby foods: infant rice cereal and juice. 

However, infant and baby foods contain traces of lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and other metals. The more that babies ingest these contaminants, the greater their health and developmental risks – more so than when adults consume them. 

Over time, this consistent exposure to heavy metals can impact infants’ brain development. This can ultimately lead to long-term learning or development issues. 

“The science on these toxic heavy metals is clear: there is no question of the harm they cause to babies’ developing brains,” said Jane Houlihan, research director at Health Babies Bright Futures, an advocacy group focused on promoting healthy food for babies and infants.

“A Healthy Babies Bright Futures analysis showed that children under two years of age lose IQ points from exposure to heavy metals in foods. There are no safe levels of exposure to heavy metals in children.” 

While Klobuchar and the team of legislators had submitted a similar bill back in 2021, the group didn’t have enough support at that time to carry it through to the next stages. The goal is to gain more momentum this time around and push the bill into law. 

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