A recording of the public meeting “Closer to Zero Action Plan: Impacts of Toxic Element Exposure and Nutrition at Different Crucial Developmental Stages” is now available on the FDA’s Meeting Page. This meeting is the first of several expected on the Closer to Zero (C2Z) action plan to receive stakeholder input. 

The agency’s plan identifies actions they will take to reduce exposure to toxic elements from foods eaten by babies and young children—to as low as possible. They have prioritized babies and young children because their smaller body sizes and metabolism make them more vulnerable to the harmful effects of these contaminants.

Exposure to toxic elements—including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury—from foods depends on the levels of the elements in the food and the amount consumed. The levels of toxic elements in foods depend on many factors, including the levels of these elements in the air, water and soil used to grow the crops, which vary depending on factors such as natural geographical differences and past or current contamination; the type of food crop and how much “uptake” there is of specific elements from the environment; and industrial, manufacturing and agricultural processes.

The FDA reports that its work, combined with that of its stakeholders, has led to meaningful reductions in exposure to toxic elements. The action plan builds on this progress and outlines a science-based, iterative approach for achieving continual improvements over time. 

This plan will be updated as new data, information and resources become available.