A Few Thoughts About Baby Food on a Monday Morning

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

My children are long past the baby food stage, but I was still concerned to read that the House Oversight and Reform's Economic and Consumer Policy subcommitte reported that some U.S. baby foods likely contain high levels of toxic heavy metals.   The subcommittee stated that "commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury" based on both internal manufacturer documents as well as test results showing concentrations of toxic heavy metals far above acceptable FDA standards for bottled water. 

The report  further states that some of the baby food manufacturers in the report had internal standards that "permit dangerously high levels of toxic heavy metals," which ultimately underscores a lack of stringent FDA guidance. Currently, baby foods aren't required to carry any warning labeling, and a significant portion of baby foods currently aren't required to be tested whatsoever.

Among the report's recommendations is the establishment of FDA standards for maximum allowable levels of toxic heavy metals. Currently, the only standard in place is a 100 parts per billion threshold for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, leaving a number of both baby food categories and potentially harmful metals unregulated. The Subcommittee also believes the FDA should mandate both testing and labeling in order to make baby foods safer.

While regulations would be helpful to protect baby food, heavy metals appear in our food also. These contaminants are found throughout the food supply.  Some crops pulled from the ground show signs of heavy metal contamination due to chemicals, pollutants, and other unnatural occurrences.

While we all want to avoid heavy metals and chemicals in our foods, it is particularly important that babies not be exposed to such pollutants. "[An infant's] brain is forming rapidly, and so when they're exposed to metals that can interrupt those natural processes, the impacts range from behavioral problems to aggression to IQ loss and all kinds of cognitive and behavioral deficits that can persist throughout life,"  says Jane Houlihan, national director of science and health for Healthy Babies Bright Futures.

Parents who want to provide safe baby food for their children should look for organic baby foods or make their own using organic fruits and vegetables.


I tend to take a pretty relaxed view about things - but I just finished a compelling book called The Radium Girls by Kate Moore.  It is the history of a group of young women in New Jersey and Illinois who painted watch dials using radium paint beginning around 1917.  They suffered radium poisoning and many of the young women died because no one initially appreciated the toxicity of radium in paint.  Someone yesterday mentioned to me that her brother died from cancer as a result of exposure to Agent Orange.  In fact there are lots of carcinogens in our environment that we do not appreciate.  I think I will start buying more organic fruits and vegetables.  What about you?

Comments (28)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Lise - I'm a bit like Nina Hollander in that I've lived 70 years eating what I eat and so far so good. But do we really ever know. Any illness I or anyone else develops could be related to what we ingested. 

I understand about eating organically grown foods but what about the air and the pollution in it?  

The babies are who I am most concerned about because their brains and bodies are still being formed. 

Mar 08, 2021 05:57 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Lise,  That is a very disturbing report about commercial baby food.   We made a lot of our own baby food when our kids were growing up. 

Mar 08, 2021 06:12 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Morning Lise.

I survived, my children, their children and the new ones.  While I'm not overly concerned, it would be nice to have some control over what is put in their mouth

Mar 09, 2021 12:17 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That is crazy but at the same time, I am not at all surprised.  Staying away from anything being processed seems like the best way to go.

Mar 09, 2021 04:20 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

This is important and disturbing information to share.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Mar 09, 2021 05:26 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Lise, this would be frightening if I had babies at this point, or even grandkids.   I know I made my own baby food with a small blender years ago.  Seems like that is the way to go.

Mar 09, 2021 06:41 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Mar 13, 2021 05:29 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Lise - I will have to ask my daughter about this although I think she is probably aware.  She seems to be introducing our grandson to small amounts of regular food and check for any reactions.

Mar 14, 2021 05:37 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Lise. It is government work. They can find problems but can't seem to resolve problems. And this one is a big problem! Enjoy your day.

Mar 14, 2021 05:40 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

That is very disturbing news about baby food. If I heard that and had young children, I'd be steaming/mushing my own vegetables at this point. 

As for organics, I do eat a lot of them. And very rarely eat processed foods. And feel great (at the moment!)


Mar 14, 2021 06:41 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes™- by eXp Realty - Vancouver, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

It seriously sickens me.  In our great nation it's a shame and a sham that this is still going on.  And yes to organic fruits and veggies - and dairy products, and anything else you put in your body. Although, research the heck out of that too, all organic labels are not created equal. 

Mar 14, 2021 08:36 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Makes me crazy that they're still selling baby food with crap in it.  Ugh.  As for me, I've been hooked on organics for years. The idea of eating processed foods and yes that includes impossible fake burgers...not happening.

Mar 14, 2021 02:55 PM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Having to worry about toxins in baby food is not right and that should have been a priority for the FDA.

Right here in Waterbury CT with Benrus we also had a real bad issue with radium and only recently was the watch factory building taken down and it was still loaded with the radioactive material

Mar 14, 2021 03:46 PM
Lise Howe

@ed silva - I think you should read the book Radium Girls - it is fascinating.

Mar 15, 2021 07:58 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Lise,
That IS disturbing. I'm going to stay away from the "follow the money" scenario on this but I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!  That said, there are organic toxins in nature too.  We have to be very diligent about knowing where our food is coming from and what we are putting in our bodies.  Sadly, we don't have total control over it unless we are growing ALL of our own food.

Mar 15, 2021 07:08 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

What a great post Lise. Sure makes you stop and think. I've been eating way more organic vegeatable than I ever did and there is no doubt its so much fresher.

Mar 15, 2021 04:14 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

It's funny how something like baby food can trigger your best blog topic of the day. Really good 

Mar 15, 2021 09:10 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I am a strong proponent of organic, whole foods. There is a lot of scary chemicals and toxins added needlessly to so many things we eat and use daily. I cover this a lot in my book Theosynthesis®~LIV2DAY.  

Mar 16, 2021 05:42 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I wish I had time to grow all of our own vegetables. I don't, but sure do appreciate what does come out of our garden.

I didn't realize baby food made in the U.S. was just as dangerous as the poison coming from China.

Mar 16, 2021 08:09 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Somehow I think the reason there is so much cancer in our society is related to the chemicals in our meat and fruits and vegetables.  I remember making baby food for my kids--but it wasn't using organic produce.

Mar 17, 2021 10:36 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

You are wise to read labels and look for organic products!  There are so many people who have severe consequences if they are exposed to chemicals. I'm meeting more and more of them as an EcoBroker.  Very scary that they can't manage being around pesticides, candles, glad plug-ins, natural gas, and the list goes on!  Great share of information Lise!

Mar 23, 2021 07:32 PM