Exposure to Heavy Metals and Pesticides Synergistically Affect the Neurodevelopment of Children

While some heavy metals such as zinc and iron are essential for the good functioning of our bodies, others such as cadmium, arsenic, lead, and mercury are hazardous to our health. Frequent exposure to low concentrations of heavy metals can wreak havoc on children’s developing brain and nervous system.

Alarmingly, infants and toddlers who have been exposed to significant concentrations of heavy metals over the past decades from baby food. Since the primary sources of heavy metals in nature are soil and water, it should be no surprise that baby food’s main ingredients, such as wheat, carrots, and barley, end up tainted with these neurotoxins.

Californian Manufacturer, Plum Organics, Allows Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Located in Emeryville, California, Plum Organics is a Sun-Maid Growers brand. It manufactures a wide range of baby food, including apple cinnamon and oatmeal bars. Plum Organics and other major baby food companies have to test for neurotoxins. They may be held liable for acting negligently if it allows dangerous levels of heavy metals in products.

To comprehend how serious the problem of heavy metal exposure from baby food is, it is essential to know that the safe limit for lead is 5 parts per billion (ppb). At the same time, the report of the U.S. House of Representatives found the following in Plum Organics’ products:

• Mighty Morning Bar, Blueberry Lemon: 73 ppb lead
• Teensy Snacks Berry: 35 ppb lead
• Grow Well Tummy: 31 ppb lead
• Mighty Snack Bar, Strawberry: 29 ppb lead

Furthermore, another outrageous discovery of the investigation is the level of arsenic lurking in Super Puffs, a baby food line that Plum Organics has recently acquired from Campbell. Accordingly, the highest concentration of arsenic found in these baby food products was a whopping 470 ppb.

Exposure to Heavy Metals and Pesticides Synergistically Affect the Neurodevelopment of Children
Exposure to Heavy Metals and Pesticides Synergistically Affect the Neurodevelopment of Children

Heavy Metals, Pesticides, and Neurodevelopmental Problems

Agricultural workers who cater to baby food companies use hazardous pesticides and insecticides on their crops to destroy unwanted weeds and to keep pests at bay. Nevertheless, while these products are very efficient, they can make their way into baby food like heavy metals.

Shockingly, nearly 20% of all the pesticides in the country are used in California. This is a startling fact, considering that the crops of the Golden State account for just 1% to 3% of all in the country. Between 2004 and 2015, over 2 billion pounds of pesticides were used in California.

Both heavy metals and pesticides are neurotoxic, which means that exposure affects children’s neurodevelopment. Exposure to heavy metals from baby food has a chronic effect on the nervous system of children as they accumulate in their bodies. As neurotoxins, they can easily reach the cerebral matter, where they will settle, gradually leading to neurodevelopmental problems. Today, up to 500,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5 in our country have blood concentrations of lead above the safe limit.

When it comes to pesticides, the ones scientifically proven to be neurotoxic include organophosphates, carbamates, and organochlorine pesticides. They directly target the nervous tissue.


Finally, given the latest research on this polarizing topic, there might be a significant link between the dangerous concentrations of heavy metals in baby food and neurodevelopmental disorders. Because federal agencies have very lax rules regarding the permissible limit of heavy metals in baby food, companies have been putting profit over the safety of children.

Nevertheless, a sliver of hope is the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, which sets the maximum concentrations of the four heavy metals in infant and toddler food. If it becomes a law, the risk of children developing autism spectrum disorders in the future might be considerably lower.

Author Jonathan Sharp is the CFO at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. He is in charge of the financial matters of the law firm, which specializes in toxic exposure and is located in Birmingham, Alabama. He is also responsible for managing client relations, case evaluation, and collecting and adequately distributing the funds.

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