Just How Safe Are our Baby Food Products?

“Just how safe are our baby food products?” That is the question many consumers and parents are asking on the heels of a startling study.  Manufactured to help your child grow and develop, you trust baby food products to offer all the quality and nutrients advertised.  Unfortunately, a new study by the Clean Label Project suggests that a large percentage of baby food products in the United States are actually contaminated with dangerous toxins.

The baby food products tested are not one-off brands either, but brands that are trusted by millions of consumers, such as Gerber, Beech-Nut, Similac, Sprout, Enfamil, and Plum Organics.

Clean Label Project Study Shows Dangerous Toxins

In October 2017, reports of a Clean Label Project study hit mainstream media sources.  Headlines declared the results of the study showing that 65 percent of baby food products studied contained arsenic.  As the report unfolds, the results are even more startling.  Among the 60 brands and more than 500 formula and baby food products screened, a large percentage contained toxins ranging from heavy metals, pesticides, BPA, and chemicals linked to cancer.

The data showed contamination percentages as the following:

  • 65 percent of products contained arsenic
  • 58 percent of products contained cadmium
  • 36 percent of products contained lead
  • 10 percent of products contained acrylamides
  • 60 percent of products advertised as “BPA free” tested positive for BPA
  • Almost 80 percent of infant formula screened tested positive for arsenic
  • “Certified organic” baby food products tested positive for twice the amount of arsenic as compared to conventional baby foods.
  • Soy-based infant formula had seven times the amount of cadmium than other varieties.

Dangerous Toxins: What They Are, What They Do

Most readers will read words like “arsenic” or “lead” and immediately be put on the alert.  Unfortunately, many people are not aware of exactly what these toxins are, or how they could affect your health.  Consider the following:


Arsenic is a known carcinogen with both acute and long-term health risks. Acute symptoms of exposure to arsenic include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, numbness of extremities, muscle cramps, and even death.  Health risks associated with long-term exposure include skin lesions, skin cancer, diabetes,  and pulmonary disease.  Specific to infants and children, health risks include negative impacts on cognitive development, memory, and intelligence.


Cadmium is a toxic metal most commonly found in certain types of batteries. In general, there is “no safe margin of cadmium exposure”, and the metal is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The effects of cadmium exposure on the human body are profound.  Cadmium affects blood pressure, bone health, renal and dopaminergic systems in children, and is a known carcinogen linked to pancreatic cancer.  Cadmium is also linked to neuron cell death, which can result in decreased memory, attention, and brain function.


Most parents are aware of the importance of avoiding lead exposure, and likely have had their child routinely tested. Lead is a naturally occurring metal, but is extremely toxic to humans, especially children.  Lead exposure can lead to poor development of the brain and nervous system, and can result in behavioral disorders or mental retardation.  Lead exposure also results in an increased risk of kidney damage, high blood pressure, anemia, and renal impairment.  Behavioral and neurological effects of lead exposure are believed to be irreversible.


Acrylamide is a chemical most commonly used in industrial manufacturing of products like paper, dye, caulking, adhesives, and plastics. Acrylamides are considered a “probable human carcinogen” because studies have shown a link between exposure and cancer rates.  Additionally, exposure to acrylamides has been linked to neurological damage.


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical most commonly found in plastics. Parents commonly see warnings touting the dangers of BPA, and labels promising to be “BPA free”.  While studies on the health risks of BPA exposure are limited, there is concern that BPA exposure could lead to negative impacts on the brain, behavior, and heart.  Children are more at risk as their bodies cannot adequately eliminate chemicals from their bodies.

Distinct Problems with Unsafe Baby Food Products

There are several factors worth considering as the Clean Label Project study continues to draw attention.  First, it is startling that so many trusted baby food products could be contaminated with dangerous toxins.  Second, there is the matter of who is responsible for ensuring these products are safe? Third, why aren’t consumers warned of the potential dangers, especially among products labeled as being “free” of certain chemicals, but then testing positive for them?

At Birth Injury Guide, we know how important it is that your family gets only the best, high-quality products.  When you put your trust in manufacturers and your family is harmed as a result, the impact goes far beyond any physical ailment.  Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide products that are safe and effective.  You, the consumer, shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes.

If you or someone in your family has been harmed as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals like lead, BPA, or arsenic, contact Birth Injury Guide to find out more about your rights as a consumer.  Fill out our online form to get started, or call 1-877-415-6603 for a free case review.


Meagan Cline

Written By Meagan Cline

Meagan Cline is a professional legal researcher and writer. She lends her expertise to the team at Birth Injury Guide to provide up-to-date and relevant content that clients can count on.