By: Trisha Dello Iacono, Senior Legislative Manager, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: November 18, 2021
About: FDA's Closer to Zero Plan
To: Food and Drug Administration
Good afternoon. My name is Trisha Dello Iacono. I am the mom to four young children and the Senior Legislative Manager for Moms Clean Air Force. Thank you for this opportunity to provide comments today.
Moms Clean Air Force is an organization of more than 1 and a half million moms and dads across the country fighting to protect our children from toxic chemicals, air pollution, and the climate crisis.
Lead. Arsenic. Cadmium. Mercury. These are not ingredients we want in our baby food. These harm our children’s health and cause damage to our babies’ developing brains. No mother should have to worry about what she is spooning into her babies’ mouths, day after day.
The science is clear on this. The FDA must take immediate action to remove heavy metals from our food.
As a mom to four growing children, this issue hits home. I live in Southern New Jersey with my husband and four children, including Josie, my youngest child, who is just shy of two years old. Josie is a voracious eater who wants meals and snacks coming her way at all times.
Feeding my youngest, alongside my three boys, is a daily challenge, and like so many parents, I am often tempted to reach for what is most convenient in our kitchen or pantry. Like so many parents, I spent years assuming that baby food was safe. But now I understand that there is a shameful lack of standards to protect our babies from heavy metals in their food. This must end.
I am no stranger to the damage toxins can do in our children. In 2012, my family was poisoned by a toxic chemical due to a train derailment and massive chemical spill, causing my now 10 year old, Liam, to have chronic health problems. And then in 2016, Liam was exposed to and again sickened by a toxic exposure—this time—the heavy metal mercury, from the flooring at his elementary school. As a parent to a child who has suffered impacts from not one but two toxic chemical exposures, I know to take toxics seriously—and so should all of us.
The simple act of feeding my children is fraught with worry so long as baby food may be contaminated with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury which undermine our children’s ability to thrive. No mother should ever have to hold up a jar and ask herself “How safe is this baby food?” It’s why we need to take action on heavy metals in baby food. And it is why we absolutely need the FDA to make it easier for parents like me to nourish their babies without unknowingly putting them at risk.
It’s high time we parents are given the protections from toxic metals that they think they already have.