Category Archives: Child Innocence

Alarming Study Of Baby Foods And Formulas

.jpg photo of Baby in high chair
A new study by the Clean Label Project suggests most baby food contains dangerous contaminates.

These baby foods and formulas tested
positive for Arsenic, Lead and BPA
in new study

An alarming study released Wednesday found many baby food products test positive for arsenic, including 80% of infant formulas. And, that’s not the only dangerous contaminate found.

Best five products compared to the worst five tested:

  • 170% more ARSENIC than the best.
  • 35% more CADMIUM than the best.
  • 30% more LEAD than the best.
  • 20% more ACRYLAMIDE than the best.

The Clean Label Project, a nonprofit advocating for transparent labeling, tested baby food, infant formulas, toddler drinks and snacks purchased within the past 5 months.  The group, which did not publish findings in a peer-reviewed journal, looked at top-selling formulas and baby food using Nielsen data, and also included emerging national brands.  After about 530 baby food products were tested, researchers found 65% of products tested positive for arsenic, 36% for lead, 58% for cadmium and 10% for acrylamide.  All of these chemicals pose potential dangers to developing infants.

  • Certified “ORGANIC” baby food products Tested have OVER 2X the ARSENIC compared to conventional baby foods Tested.
  • Nearly 80% of infant formula samples Tested POSITIVE for ARSENIC.
  • 60% of products claiming to be “BPA FREE” Tested POSITIVE for BPA.

Jennifer Lowry, pediatrician and toxicologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., who is not affiliated with the research, said these chemicals can affect fine motor skills and cognition.

Mainstream brands including Gerber, Enfamil, Plum Organics and Sprout were among the worst offenders — scoring two out of five in the Clean Label Project’s report card for toxic metals.  Plus, 60% of products claiming to be “BPA free” tested positive for the industrial chemical bisphenol A.  The quantities of contaminates range, but some products tested positive for up to 600 parts of arsenic per billion.  That’s far more than just trace amounts.

Environmental group warns of lead in baby food

Arsenic was the most common contaminate spotted in the Clean Label Project study.  Nearly 80% of infant formula samples tested positive for arsenic.  The toxin is associated with developmental defects, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity, diabetes and even cancer, according to the World Health Organization.

Jaclyn Bowen, executive director of Clean Label Project and a food safety scientist, said rice-based baby food such as snack puffs had some of the highest levels of arsenic.

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion of arsenic in infant rice cereal, but isn’t enforcing that limit.  Rice often absorbs arsenic from contaminated soil as it grows in the environment.

“It is important for consumers to understand that some contaminants, such as heavy metals like lead or arsenic, are in the environment and cannot simply be removed from food,” Peter Cassell, a FDA spokesperson.

Lead, also found in food tested by the Clean Label Project, has been found in baby food before.  Just a few months ago, the Environmental Defense Fund found 20% of 2,164 baby food samples tested contained lead.  No amount of lead is safe, but it’s not regulated.

Low levels of lead in children’s blood have been connected to lower IQs, slowed growth, behavioral problems, hearing issues and anemia, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Clean Label Project posted a list of products it tested, along with a star-rating grade informed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, on its website.  Bowen said she hopes the data helps parents become better advocates for their children’s health, and creates change in the baby food business.

“The baby industry needs to do a better job in protecting America’s most vulnerable population,” Bowen said.

CHILD SAFETY AND PREVENTION

Going To And From School More Safely

by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®

Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day. Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.

Review the four rules of personal safety with your children.  Remind them to:

  1. Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
  2. Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
  3. Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you.  It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
  4. Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.

Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help.  Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.

If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.

Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride.  Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.

Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.

Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them.  If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.

Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information.  Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.

Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.

For more information about child safety, visit MissingKids.com 

TN Toddler Left In Hot Vehicle

.jpg photo of vehicular heat stroke victim
Kiara, 11-month-old, was found dead in a hot car

Officers testify in Child Abuse case

CHATTANOOGA, TN  –  The mother of a baby who died in a hot car in Chattanooga last week, stood before a judge today.

As of now, Jessica Tollett is charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, but that could change.

Jessica Tollett listened on as officers testified in her child abuse case.

Earlier this month, Tollett’s 11-month-old daughter, Kiara, was found dead in a hot car.

Police have charged the father, Travis McCullough in connection to that.  But this launched an investigation into how her three children were cared for.

The two other children were at the scene and taken to the hospital.

“It appeared they had not been bathed recently.  Now when they were brought food by the hospital, they seemed to be very protective of the food, they ate it fairly quickly,” said SVU Investigator Christopher Grafe, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

After leaving the hospital, investigators went to the couple’s home at College Hill Courts.  The judge and lawyers looked over pictures of what was found.

“Walking straight back into the room, which was the worst room in the house.  It had a couch that looked like it had been torn up, in my opinion by a dog.  From my experience it looked like feces all over the ground,” Grafe said.

This isn’t the first time Tollett and McCullough have been investigated for child abuse.  It happened back in 2012, but charges against them for that were dismissed.

A police sergeant described what the motel they were living in at that time was like.

“Once inside the room the infant was asleep on one of the mattresses.  It didn’t have any sheets on it.  There was a comforter partially covering his face.  I immediately moved that off his face.  His face was dirty, his clothes were dirty, the infant also had a heavily soiled diaper.  You could tell it hadn’t been changed in a while,” Sergeant Jamie Barrow, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Tollett’s lawyer and Prosecutors agree the charges against her should be changed.

“The highest charge that Ms. Tollett should receive in this case is attempt child neglect,” said Erinn O’Leary, a public defender.

But they disagree on what the new charge should be.

“We can say that judging by this defendant’s prior knowledge of how horribly she was keeping her one kid at that time in 2012, to how she is keeping all three of her kids and even in worse condition now that could certainly rise to serious bodily injury at some point,” prosecutor Boyd Patterson said.

The judge will make a decision about the charges on Wednesday morning.

Mother Now Charged With Abuse Of Child

.jpg photo of mother charged with abuse
Valerie Pastran, 21

Tucson woman arrested week after
boyfriend in Child Abuse case

TUCSON, AZ  –  Police said on Friday, May 5, that they have arrested a Tucson woman in connection with a child abuse case for which her boyfriend was arrested last month.

According to Tucson Police Department Sgt. Pete Dugan, 21-year-old Valerie Pastran was arrested on Thursday, May 4.  She was booked on one count of child abuse, Dugan said.  She was released later that night.

NM Fighter Accused Of Child Abuse

Gilbert Cuhen, an MMA fighter from New Mexico, was arrested on abuse charges on April 27 after Pastran’s 3-year-old girl was found unresponsive in a home on Tucson’s south side.  Cuhen was also charged with child abuse.

Dugan said on April 27 that the child was in critical condition.  The child’s family said she was on life support.

Tucson News Now will update this late breaking story as details become available.

NM Fighter Accused Of Child Abuse

.jpg photo of man suspected of Child Abuse
Gilbert Cuhen, 31

Arrest made in Child Abuse case

TUCSON, AZ  –  A three-year old is in critical condition and an arrest has been made after a child abuse call Wednesday, April 26, when a woman driving her daughter to the hospital called 911.

According to TPD, 31-year old Gilbert Cuhen, the boyfriend of the child’s mother was arrested Thursday.

New Mexico MMA fighter faces child abuse charges

The mother told police everyone was home when she heard commotion in the backyard, when she went back to check she found her daughter unresponsive and drove her to the hospital.

On her way to the hospital she dialed 911 when her daughter was getting worse, according to TPD.  Police and firefighters arrived and determined the girl’s injuries were a result of physical abuse.

When police went to question Cuhen at the house, he was not there and it was later found out he left to New Mexico to stay with family.

While in New Mexico Cuhen did speak to authorities, according to TPD.

Cuhen drove back to Tucson Thursday after speaking with a detective in the child abuse unit at TPD over the phone.

After driving to the TPD station Cuhen was taken into custody and arrested on two counts of child abuse.