Tag Archives lead

Healthy Babies Bright Futures has released a report describing tests it commissioned on 168 varieties of baby food from 61 brands reportedly finding that 95% of the products contained traces of arsenic, lead, cadmium or mercury, with 26% of products containing all four heavy metals. The organization asserts that rice puff snacks, teething biscuits, infant rice cereal, fruit juice, carrots and sweet potatoes carry the highest levels of heavy metals. The report cites a study arguing that “lead and arsenic in rice-based foods account for one-fifth of the more than 11 million IQ points children lose from birth to 24 months of age from all dietary sources.” The organization calls on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “establish and finalize health-protective standards for heavy metals,” “implement a proactive testing program for heavy metals in foods consumed by babies and toddlers” and “establish a health-based limit for [inorganic arsenic] in…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Welch Foods Inc.'s grape juices contain excessive levels of lead and arsenic, citing a January 2019 article appearing in Consumer Reports. Labajo v. Welch Foods Inc., No. 19-1306 (C.D. Cal., filed July 16, 2019). The complaint also cites California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65), noting, "This Complaint does not allege a violation of Proposition 65. Proposition 65 is relevant, however, to the extent it provides information concerning the material omissions in violation of California's Consumer Protection laws, and guidance as to a reasonable consumer's purchasing decisions." The plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctions preventing fraudulent business practices and requiring disclosure of lead and arsenic content, restitution, damages and attorney's fees for alleged violations of California consumer-protection statutes.

The North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has reportedly found that children can be exposed to elevated levels of lead through consumption of spices and herbal remedies. Angelon-Gaetz et al., "Lead in Spices, Herbal Remedies, and Ceremonial Powders Sampled from Home Investigations for Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels - North Carolina, 2011-2018," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The researchers examined North Carolina counties that showed an increase of the number of children with blood lead levels "much higher than most children's levels," per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. The researchers reportedly found that 28.8 percent of spice samples taken from 59 homes showed lead levels of more than one milligram per kilogram. "Increasing testing of spices, herbal remedies, and ceremonial powders for heavy metals by food safety regulators at the port of entry when these substances are imported into the…

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed a lawsuit alleging two companies' toddler formula products contain lead levels higher than U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards. California v. Nutraceutical Corp., No. RG18907841 (Cal. Super. Ct., Alameda Cty., filed June 7, 2018). The state alleges that Sammy’s Milk Free-Range Goat Milk Toddler Formula, manufactured and sold by Graceleigh Inc., and Peaceful Planet Toddler Supreme Formula, manufactured and sold by Nutraceutical Corp., contain more than six micrograms of lead—the daily intake limit set by FDA—and fail to include lead warnings on the products' labels. Both companies purportedly market their products as "clean" and "pure." “Toddler formula should contain nutrients that help children grow, not poisonous substances that can threaten their healthy development. No parent should have to worry that the formula they purchase could endanger their child,” said Becerra in a press release. “The levels of lead we found in these formulas…

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued a scientific opinion reevaluating the safety of silicon dioxide used as a food additive, concluding that the available information is insufficient to confirm the current acceptable daily intake. The panel reportedly found no indication of adverse effects or genotoxicity, but it questioned a long-term study indicating silicon dioxide is not carcinogenic because the description of the primary particle size was not reported. The panel recommended that the European Commission consider lowering the current limits for arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium in the current specifications for silicon dioxide to ensure it will not be a source of exposure to those elements.

Blue Buffalo Pet Products faces a proposed class action alleging that three of its dog-food products contain unsafe levels of lead despite being advertised as “healthy” and “holistic.” Zakinov v. Blue Buffalo Pet Products, No. 17-1301 (S.D. Cal., filed June 26, 2017). The plaintiff, who asserts that his four-year-old dog died from kidney disease after eating “Blue Wilderness Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs,” “Blue Freedom Grain-Free Chicken Recipe for Small Breed Adult Dogs” and “Blue Basics Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Recipe for Adult Dogs,” alleges that independent lab testing found the products contained between 140 and 840 parts per billion of lead. Claiming negligent misrepresentation, negligence per se and violations of California consumer protection laws, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, corrective advertising, restitution, disgorgement, damages and attorney’s fees.   Issue 640

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced a public hearing on a petition to issue regulations setting “naturally occurring” lead levels in candy containing chili or tamarind. The hearing, which will be webcast, is tentatively scheduled for June 19, 2017. Comments on the petition may be submitted by email or in writing by July 3, 2017.   Issue 633

Consumer group As You Sow has notified the state of California that a number of chocolate manufacturers are allegedly selling chocolate with levels of lead and cadmium that exceed limits set by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop. 65). Testing by the organization allegedly indicated that 35 of the 50 chocolate products sampled—including those from Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Godiva and Lindt, among others—contained enough lead or cadmium to trigger Prop. 65 warning requirements. As You Sow has filed 60-day notices with 18 manufacturers based on its testing; following the 60-day period, the organization may initiate litigation against the companies if public officials have not sought enforcement of the statute. “Lead and cadmium accumulate in the body, so avoiding exposure is important, especially for children,” As You Sow President Danielle Fugere said in a March 23, 2016, press release. “Our goal is to work with chocolate…

Contradicting an advisory jury verdict, a Pennsylvania federal court has allowed Starr Surplus Lines Insurance Co. to void its policy with H.J. Heinz Co. covering damages related to the manufacture and sale of lead-tainted baby cereal. H.J. Heinz Co. v. Starr Surplus Ins. Co., No. 15-0631 (W.D. Penn., order entered February 1, 2016). Surplus sought to rescind the policy, and the jury agreed with its argument that Heinz had made material misrepresentations on its application for product contamination coverage. The jury concluded that the insurance company knew about the misrepresentations and sold the policy anyway, thus losing its grounds for rescinding the policy; the court disagreed, finding “Heinz did not prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Starr had sufficient knowledge of the misrepresented facts prior to issuing the policy.” Accordingly, the court voided the policy. Additional information about the jury decision appears in Issue 588 of this Update.…

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