What FDA's "Closer to Zero" Plan is Lacking

April 8, 2021
baby being fed cereal

Healthy Babies Bright Futures welcomes the FDA’s announcement of Closer to Zero, the agency’s new action plan to reduce exposure to lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in baby foods.  

It’s important that the FDA recognizes that parents want and expect the government to do what is necessary to eliminate toxic chemicals in the foods eaten by their babies and young children. A 2019 Healthy Babies Bright Futures study, found heavy metals in 95% of baby foods tested.

But the timelines aren’t ambitious enough to be protective.

Why does it take more than three years just to finalize action levels? The pace of the FDA’s “Closer to Zero”  doesn’t get us closer to zero quickly enough — which is why HBBF endorses the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021 (HR2229). 

Children under two years of age lose over 11 million IQ points from exposure to heavy metals in food, according to an analysis commissioned by HBBF and conducted by Abt Associates. One in six children in America has a developmental disability, and exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and lifelong problems with learning and behavior.