Advocate for removal of toxic heavy metals in baby foods

December 19, 2019

As advocates for child health, PNPs should actively support the Healthy Babies Bright Futures recommendations to create public health policies that ensure food safety and the removal of toxic heavy metals from infant and toddler food supplies. In fact, our advocacy should go beyond the infant food supply to all foods, to protect the health and well-being of all individuals regardless of age. Toxic metals should not be a part of anyone’s daily dietary intake.

What a shocking statement: “Currently there are no limits for toxic heavy metals in baby food” is in the article Toxic metals detected in nearly all baby foods, written by Catherine Radwan. Ms. Radwan reports on the most recent results of a study by Healthy Babies Bright Futures on the amounts of detectable toxic heavy metals found in baby foods that discovered them in approximately 40% of baby food samples tested. These heavy metals are neurotoxins known to adversely affect brain development and result in lowering IQs in babies and toddlers who consume these products.

Feedings recommendations are part of our routine practice: We need to be correct

As pediatric nurse practitioners (PNPs), we expect safe, high quality foods without any evidence of toxins when we make recommendations to parents, grandparents, relatives, and caregivers of young children on what to feed their babies and toddlers. Feeding recommendations are a part of our daily anticipatory guidance for parents of babies and young children. Parents depend upon us to provide information that will help them properly nourish their babies and toddlers to ensure normal growth and development. Review the article to better advise parents on what foods to feed infants and toddlers to avoid consumption of foods that contain heavy metals.

Our expectations of the FDA

As PNPs, we expect the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency charged with assurance of food safety in the United States, to provide the highest quality of oversight for all food products and in particular those that we recommend for infant and toddler diets. We know, with certainty, that brain growth and development in the first few years of life must be protected and that neurotoxins must not be in the foods that are consumed by infants and toddlers.     

Commit to advocating for a healthy food supply

The Healthy Babies Bright Futures author identified feeding recommendations to avoid ingestion of baby foods that contain heavy metals. In addition, they recommended that the FDA create a testing program similar to the toy safety program. As advocates for child health, PNPs should actively support these recommendations to create public health policies that ensure food safety and the removal of toxic heavy metals from infant and toddler food supplies. In fact, our advocacy should go beyond the infant food supply to ALL foods, to protect the health and well-being of all individuals regardless of age. Toxic metals should not be a part of anyone’s daily dietary intake.