Consumer Alert: NY attorney general opens investigation of heavy metals in baby food

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Your consumer alert today takes us straight to the office of the New York attorney general.

Less than one week after I told you about heavy metals found in baby food, Attorney General Tish James announced she has launched an investigation of some baby food giants including Gerber, BeechNut, Hain which makes Earth’s Best Organic, and Nurture which makes HappyBaby.

They are among the baby food manufacturers named in a House subcommittee report that found harmful levels of heavy metals in their baby food, specifically arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.

Just last week, the D.C. attorney general sued BeechNut over the issue.

Heavy metals are especially dangerous for babies because their brains are developing. Heavy metals can cause ADHD and lower your child’s I.Q, and the damage is permanent.

This isn’t the first time James has gone after baby food manufacturers. Earlier this year, James urged the FDA to mandate federal standards for baby foods, because right now, there are no standards.

When I alerted you to this issue last week, I heard from so many parents. So, I’m repeating the advice of folks at Consumer Reports who have extensively studied the issue.

  • Limit high-risk foods. Those include rice, sweet potatoes, apple juice and grape juice.
  • Minimize baby food snacks. Some of those include puffs, teething biscuits and crackers.
  • Vary your child’s diet. A variety of foods is good for us and good for baby. It also helps keep the baby from getting too much food that may contain heavy metals.
  • Make your own baby food using steamed or naturally soft food and a blender.

The good folks at Harvard Medical School have been studying this issue and they have a great tip. After you’ve blended food for the baby, pour the puree into ice trays and freeze it. Then you can just pop out cubes and thaw as needed.

Rochester woman sues Johnson & Johnson

Now from the food in your baby’s mouth to the powder on her bottom. A Rochester woman has filed suit against Johnson & Johnson because she says their baby powder caused her mother’s cancer. The suit was filed this week.

Rochester resident Pearl Gaines died in 2006 from metastatic ovarian cancer. Her daughter says she used Johnson & Johnson baby powder as well as Shower to Shower her entire life. The lawsuit says both products contained talc, which has been shown to contain trace amounts of asbestos, a known carcinogen. This lawsuit is one of the tens of thousands filed against Johnson & Johnson by women who believe its baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.

So is baby powder safe? Johnson & Johnson insists that it’s always been safe, but last May, the company announced it would stop selling baby powder with talc in the U.S. and Canada. Its baby powder is now made with corn starch.