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Study: Dangerous Chemicals Found in Many Popular Baby Food, Formula Brands

Toddler smiling and teething on a toy

A study of 500 infant formulas and baby food products across 60 different brands revealed that some of the most popular products tested positive for known potentially dangerous chemicals. Products were screened for more than 130 different toxins, including heavy metals, BPA, pesticides, and other contaminants that have been linked to cancer, brain damage, reproductive harm, slowed infant development, and other health conditions.

The Clean Label Project, a non-profit organization focused on health and transparency in consumer product labeling, revealed the results of their study on October 25, 2017. According to USA Today, the group used Nielsen data to determine the top-selling products to include in their study in addition to other emerging brands.

Dangerous substances that the study screened for include:

  • Arsenic: early childhood exposure can increase the risk of impaired fetal growth, cancer, neurotoxicity, and hormone disruption
  • Cadmium: adverse effects on the heart and digestive system
  • Lead: no amount of lead exposure is safe for young children, affecting almost every organ system in the body, and can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and anemia
  • Mercury: considered a neurodevelopmental poison
  • Mycotoxins: toxic fungus that can cause a host of potentially fatal fungal diseases
  • Acrylamide: chemical created during manufacturing linked to brain damage, cancer, and reproductive harm
  • Pesticides
  • Antibiotics: low-level exposure can render antibiotics useless when an illness or infection occurs
  • Melamine: can have detrimental health effects on the kidney and bladder
  • BPA/BPS: linked to hormone disruption

In addition, The Clean Label Project also assigned a rating to each product for their nutritional content, downgrading products that contain added sugars, artificial colors, and preservatives as well as a lack of antioxidant activity.

Key Findings from the Baby Food Product Study

Here are some of the startling results of The Clean Label Project’s study:

  • Of the baby food products tested,
    • 65 percent contained detectable levels of arsenic
    • 58 percent contained detectable levels of cadmium
    • 36 percent contained detectable levels of lead
    • 10 percent contained detectable levels of acrylamides
  • 60 percent of products that claimed to be BPA free actually tested positive for BPA
  • 80 percent of infant formula samples tested positive for arsenic
  • Baby food products with an organic certification were found to have over two times the amount of arsenic compared to non-organic products

Popular Name Brands Receive Low Scores

Consumers may be surprised to see many household names included on the list of brands that received low scores from the study. The Clean Label Project assigned an overall score for each individual product as well as an overall score for each brand included in the study. Every product was assigned a rating of one to 5 stars for each category (heavy metals, process contaminants, byproduct contaminants, and nutritional superiority), with one star being the poorest rating and five stars being the best rating.

Here are some popular baby food and formula brands and their overall scores:

  • Babies ‘R’ Us — 3.3 out of 5 stars
  • Gerber — 2.6 out of 5 stars
  • Little Duck Organics — 2 out of 5 stars
  • Nosh — 1.4 out of 5 stars
  • O Organics — 3 out of 5 stars
  • Plum Organics — 2.5 out of 5 stars

On The Clean Label Project website, you can see the brand report cards and individual ratings for each product analyzed in the study. The group hopes the results of the study will inform consumers of what may be hidden behind the product labels of the baby food and formula products they purchase.

Child Harmed by a Dangerous Product? Contact a Product Liability Attorney

If your baby or toddler was harmed due to the harmful contents of a food or drink product, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our product liability lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim. Baby food and toy manufacturers should be held accountable if their products cause injury or illness to your child. A product liability lawsuit can help your child get the compensation they need for past and future medical bills. Call us today for a free legal consultation.

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