hbbf team

About HBBF

Our Mission

Our Mission

We measurably reduce babies’ exposure to toxic chemicals that harm brain development.

We focus on chemicals with the strongest bodies of evidence supporting their role in developmental harm, such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. HBBF leverages data-driven opportunities to reduce chemical exposures that harm babies’ brain development.

Our analysis uncovered two paths to measurable change: reducing exposure to heavy metals in food and working with city governments that have the unique ability to drive change rapidly.

Both of these paths lead the way to a brighter future for all babies.

Our Impact

Little things add up: each step brings us closer to a world where every baby is healthy and can count on a bright future.

Since we began releasing our original reports on the toxic levels of arsenic found in major brands of infant rice cereal:

  • Congress and FDA launched major investigations and initiatives to uncover levels of heavy metals in baby food and lower the levels through FDA’s Closer to Zero initiative, and FDA has proposed first-ever limits for lead in baby food.
  • Every U.S. baby food brand has taken infant brown rice cereal off the market, the cereal with the highest arsenic levels.
  • Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii have taken rice cereal off the list of approved foods for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program, protecting the nearly half of all infants who rely on the program from arsenic.
  • The FDA finalized new limits for arsenic in infant rice cereal.
  • Rice farmers have converted 16 percent of acres in Arkansas (a top rice-growing state) to lower-arsenic cultivation methods, in response to demands for lower arsenic rice.

Through our Lead in Water testing program:

  • More than 1,000 families have tested for lead in their water or home and received personalized steps to reduce their children’s exposures using HBBF’s test kits.

Through our Bright Cities programs:

  • Salem, MA turned a 10,000-foot unused playing field into a municipal farm and food forest that grew and distributed 7,000 pounds of organic veggies to more than 300 kids in 2021 alone.
  • Boulder Housing Partners (BHP), the public housing authority of Boulder, CO, worked with city staff to transition three BHP properties to chemical-free turf maintenance—making these communities significantly safer for children.

Our Staff

Meet our team of experts

Our small but mighty team is committed to empowering parents to keep their children safe from neurotoxic exposures, and pushing lawmakers and corporate leaders to take meaningful action.

Charlotte holding baby mask
Charlotte Brody
National Director
Jennifer holding baby mask
jen bakkom
Jennifer Bakkom-Gatzke
Administrative Manager
Kyra holding baby mask
Kyra Naumoff Shields
Bright Cities Program Director
Jane holding baby mask
Jane Houlihan, MSCE
Research Director
Paige holding baby mask
Paige Whipple Glidden
Communications Director

HBBF is a nonprofit organization operating under the 501c3 status of Virginia Organizing, with whom we have a Memo of Understanding.