Every baby deserves a bright future.
Protecting Babies' Brain Development
We know that little things add up.
Repeated exposures to small amounts of toxic chemicals can cause serious harm to the developing brain. These exposures add up to and negatively impact the health and wellbeing of families and communities, but also GDP and earning potential for generations.
But in the same way, small actions, taken together, can create lasting change. Our reports and programs—and the public awareness they have generated—empower parents to keep their children safe, pressure companies to make changes, and encourage government action at both federal and city levels.
Many exposures to harmful chemicals are preventable and need not affect babies’ health and futures. By taking small, meaningful steps toward reducing exposures, we can dramatically improve health outcomes and quality of life for all children.
Creating a healthier, brighter, toxic-free future for all children.
Since HBBF’s founding, we have:
- Led the charge to pressure major food brands, state-level WIC programs, and the FDA to take action on arsenic in infant rice cereals
- Tested the tap water of more than 1,000 families for lead
- Implemented more than 35 cities projects across the country that reduce toxic exposures on a community level
- Led 18 major retailers and 72 home furnishing brands to remove neurotoxic flame retardants from their products
- And so much more. But our work isn’t done: we continue to find new ways to protect babies throughout the country
What You Can Do
Every action counts
There are actions you can take to protect babies brain development, in your home and in your community. Learn more about these action steps below.
Read the Reports
Test Your Water
Download Tip Sheets
Become a Bright City
Make a Climate Connection
Face the FDA
Stay Up to Date
Resources & Blogs
In-depth coverage of our work in major news outlets
HBBF tested 288 foods bought at stores and farmers markets across the United States – including grains, fruits, vegetables, snacks, and family items such as cereals and rice cakes – for lead, arsenic, mercury and cadmium.
Ingredients in many baby foods, including some organic fare, are contaminated with heavy metals like arsenic, lead and cadmium at levels that are far higher than those allowed in products like bottled water, congressional investigators said.
“Even taking one simple step every day can reduce the harm,” Jane Houlihan says. For example, parents can swap fresh or frozen fruit for canned, serve infant oatmeal instead of infant rice cereal, and peel sweet potatoes before cooking them.
The Congressional sub-committee launched an investigation after learning of high levels of arsenic thanks to a in-depth study done by Healthy Babies Bright Futures.
In 2019, a large study from Healthy Babies Bright Futures garnered headlines. The study tested nearly 170 products and found heavy metals and other contaminants present in 95 percent of their samples.