The Truth About Toxic Baby Food: What Parents Need to Know

by | May 31, 2023 | Defective Children's Product, Defective Product, Personal Injury, Product Liability

If your young child eats baby food you buy at the grocery store, there is a chance that they are being exposed to a small level of heavy metals. Heavy metals are found naturally in the environment and are a normal part of some types of foods.

In most cases, small levels of metals are no concern. However, in 2021, a report from the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy found that an alarming amount of baby foods sold in the United States contained dangerously high levels of heavy metals. What’s worse, the report suggests that manufacturers knew the toxic baby food was harmful and knowingly sold it to vulnerable consumers.

Heavy metal toxicity is dangerous and can lead to long-term, or even lifelong medical conditions. At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, our attorneys are here to help families harmed by toxic baby food. We will stand up for you, demand answers, and fight to see justice served.

What are the Toxic Metals Found in Baby Food?

There are four main types of toxic metals that have been found in baby food: arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. These metals can be harmful to babies, even at low levels. Below, we provide an overview of each of these metals and their potential risks:


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that can be found in soil, water, and air. It can also be released into the environment from industrial activities, such as mining and smelting. Arsenic can cause a variety of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, and neurological damage.


Lead is a heavy metal that is often used in manufacturing. It can enter the environment through air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination. Lead can cause a variety of health problems, including learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and behavioral problems.


Cadmium is a heavy metal that is often used in batteries and other industrial products. It can enter the environment through air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination. Cadmium can cause a variety of health problems, including kidney damage, bone disease, and cancer.


Mercury is a heavy metal that is often used in thermometers, batteries, and other products. It can enter the environment through air pollution, water pollution, and soil contamination. Mercury can cause a variety of health problems, including neurological damage, developmental delays, and birth defects.

The FDA has set limits on the amount of toxic metals that can be in baby food. However, some baby foods have been found to contain levels of toxic metals that exceed these limits.

What Baby Foods are Contaminated with Heavy Metals?

The EWG study tested 168 baby foods, including cereals, purees, and snacks. The study found that the highest levels of heavy metals were found in rice-based foods, such as rice cereal and rice puffs. Other foods that were found to be high in heavy metals included sweet potatoes, carrots, applesauce, and teething biscuits.

The EWG study found that the levels of heavy metals in baby foods varied widely. Some foods contained only trace amounts of heavy metals, while others contained levels that were hundreds of times higher than the FDA’s recommended limits. Some of the brands associated with higher levels of heavy metals include:

  • Beech-Nut
  • Earth’s Best Organic
  • Gerber
  • Plum Organics
  • Parent’s Choice

The FDA has set limits on the amount of heavy metals that can be in baby food. However, the EWG study found that many baby foods contained levels of heavy metals that exceeded these limits. The EWG is calling on the FDA to take action to reduce the levels of heavy metals in baby food. The EWG is also urging parents to be aware of the risks of heavy metals in baby food and to choose foods that are low in these metals.

What is the Least Contaminated Baby Food?

No baby food is completely free of heavy metals, since metals exist naturally in the environment. There are some ways to reduce the risk of exposure to high levels of heavy metals. Here are some of the least contaminated baby foods:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, which can contain heavy metals.
  • Homemade Baby Food: Homemade baby food is made from fresh, whole foods that have been washed thoroughly. This helps to reduce the risk of exposure to heavy metals.
  • Baby Food from Small, Independent Companies: Baby food from small, independent companies is often made with fresh, local ingredients. This can help to reduce the risk of exposure to heavy metals.

However, by choosing organic, single-ingredient, and fresh foods, you can reduce your child’s exposure to these harmful substances.

How Do Toxic Heavy Metals Get Into Baby Food?

Toxic heavy metals can enter baby food through a variety of ways, including:

  • Soil: Heavy metals can be found in soil naturally, and they can also be released into the soil from industrial activities, such as mining and smelting. When crops are grown in soil that contains heavy metals, those metals can be absorbed by the plants and end up in the food that we eat.
  • Water: Heavy metals can also be found in water, and they can be absorbed by plants and animals that live in or drink the water. When these plants and animals are eaten by humans, the heavy metals can be passed on to us.
  • Air: Heavy metals can also be released into the air from industrial activities, such as burning fossil fuels. When these metals fall back to Earth as dust or rain, they can be absorbed by plants and animals.
  • Packaging: Heavy metals can also leach out of packaging materials, such as cans and plastic, and contaminate the food that is stored in them.

How Can I Avoid Toxic Metals in Baby Food?

If you are concerned about the levels of toxic metals in baby food, you can talk to your doctor. They can help you to choose baby foods that are low in toxic metals. Additionally, here are some tips for avoiding toxic metals in baby food:

  • Choose organic baby foods whenever possible. Organic foods are grown and processed without the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, which can contain toxic metals.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before serving them to your baby. This will help to remove any surface contaminants, including toxic metals.
  • Avoid giving your baby foods that are high in processed sugar. Processed sugar can bind to heavy metals, making them more easily absorbed by the body.
  • Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby. They can help you to make sure that your baby is getting the nutrients they need without being exposed to toxic metals.

What are the Toxic Effects of Heavy Metals?

Toxic heavy metals refer to a group of metallic elements that, when present in high concentrations or exposure over a prolonged period, can have harmful effects on living organisms, including humans. These metals have a higher atomic weight and density compared to other elements and include substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, and nickel, among others.

The specific toxic effects depend on the particular metal, the dose or concentration of exposure, the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact), and the duration of exposure.

Here are some common toxic effects associated with heavy metal exposure:

  • Neurological Effects: Several heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, can adversely affect the central nervous system. They can impair cognitive function, cause developmental delays in children, and lead to learning disabilities. Neurological symptoms may include memory loss, confusion, tremors, numbness, and motor function impairments.
  • Organ Damage: Heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and mercury can accumulate in organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Prolonged exposure can cause organ damage and dysfunction, leading to conditions like kidney disease, liver damage, and respiratory issues.
  • Cardiovascular Effects: Exposure to certain heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, has been linked to cardiovascular issues. They can contribute to high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, and disruption of heart rhythm.
  • Respiratory Problems: Inhalation of heavy metal fumes or particles, such as lead, cadmium, or chromium, can irritate the respiratory system and cause lung damage. Chronic exposure to certain metals, like arsenic, can also increase the risk of lung cancer.
  • Dermatological Effects: Heavy metals, including nickel and chromium, can cause skin allergies, contact dermatitis, and other skin reactions upon direct contact or exposure. Skin exposure to certain metals may result in rashes, itching, redness, and blistering.
  • Carcinogenic Effects: Some heavy metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, and chromium, are classified as human carcinogens. Prolonged exposure to high levels of these metals may increase the risk of developing various types of cancer, including lung, kidney, bladder, and liver cancer.

It is important to note that the toxic effects of heavy metals can vary depending on individual susceptibility, age, overall health, and exposure conditions. Minimizing exposure to heavy metals and adhering to safety guidelines and regulations can help reduce the risks associated with these toxic substances.

Do Toxic Metals in Baby Foods Cause Autism?

There is no definitive answer to the question of whether toxic metals in baby foods cause autism. Some studies have shown a link between exposure to toxic metals and autism, while others have not. More research is needed to determine whether there is a causal relationship between the two.

However, it is important to note that exposure to toxic metals can have a number of negative health effects, including neurological damage. It is therefore important to avoid exposing babies to toxic metals, including through their diet.

It is important to note that autism is a complex condition with many causes. Exposure to toxic metals is likely just one of many factors that can contribute to the development of autism. If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your doctor.

What are the General Symptoms of Toxic Heavy Metal Exposure?

The symptoms of toxic heavy metal exposure can vary depending on the type of metal, the amount of exposure, and the person’s individual health. However, some common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Blood in the urine
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Vomiting

If your child experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away. Heavy metal poisoning can be serious, and early diagnosis and treatment are essential.

What is the Difference Between a Hazardous Material and a Toxic Material?

As parents, we often hear terms like “hazardous”, “toxic.” These two terms are related but have distinct meanings when referring to chemicals or elements like heavy metals. Take a look:

  • Hazardous: A hazardous material refers to any substance or mixture that poses a physical or health hazard. This includes materials that may be flammable, explosive, corrosive, or reactive. The hazards associated with a hazardous material are not solely based on its toxicity but encompass a broader range of risks.
  • Toxic: A toxic material, on the other hand, specifically refers to a substance that can cause harm or adverse effects to living organisms, including humans, through various routes of exposure such as inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Toxicity is a measure of the inherent ability of a substance to cause harm, such as damage to organs, disruption of biological processes, or the development of diseases.

It is possible for a material to be both hazardous and toxic, as there can be substances that pose both physical and health hazards to individuals and the environment. Heavy metals are considered toxic because they can cause harm to living organisms, but they can also cause other damage depending on where and how they are applied.

What Treatment Removes Heavy Metals from the Body?

There are a few different treatments that can be used to remove heavy metals from the body. The most common treatment is chelation therapy. Chelation therapy is a medical procedure that involves the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body by binding to molecules and allowing them to be dissolved and excreted in the urine.

Other treatments for heavy metal poisoning include:

  • Phlebotomy: This is a procedure in which blood is removed from the body. This can help to remove heavy metals that are stored in the blood.
  • Diet: Eating a healthy diet can help to reduce the body’s burden of heavy metals. A healthy diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Supplements: Some supplements, such as alpha lipoic acid and DMSA, can help to remove heavy metals from the body. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.

The best treatment for heavy metal poisoning will depend on the type of metal, the amount of exposure, and the person’s individual health.

Should I Sue the Baby Food Company Since Almost All Baby Food Contains Toxic Heavy Metals?

If your child has developed developmental issues or other health problems due to heavy metal toxicity or poisoning, of course you want to hold those responsible accountable. The best way to determine your legal rights and options is to consult with a skilled toxic baby food attorney.

Working with an attorney provides you with a clear understanding of your rights and options. A law firm like Kherkher Garcia will focus on your child’s individual health and needs, and will find the most suitable options to pursue justice and compensation. Compensation in toxic baby food claims may include medical expenses, lost income if you are unable to work, and pain and suffering.

Get a Free Toxic Baby Food Consultation

At Kherkher Garcia, our attorneys are passionate about helping injured victims obtain justice. We believe that consumers need an advocate when fighting back against manufacturers who would allow dangerous products to enter consumer homes. Our attorneys are skilled in personal injury and product liability law, and we know how to build a strong case that will get results.

To find out how we can help you, call us at 713-333-1030 or complete the form on our website.

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Jesus Garcia

Jesus Garcia

Founding Partner and Trial Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Injury Trial Lawyer and Founding Firm Partner Jesus Garcia. Jesus has been a practicing injury lawyer for more than 20 years. He has won $150 Million+ in Settlements and Verdicts for his clients. He is a force of nature in the courtroom and the trial lawyer you want on your side if you or a loved one have been seriously injured at work or on the road. Abogado Jesus Garcia is bilingual and passionate about being the voice in the courtroom for the spanish speaking community here in Houston, across the state of Texas, and throughout the Nation.

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