Skimm'd while talking to two Stanford biz school professors

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Skimm'd while talking to two Stanford biz school professors

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Quote of the Day

"Doge" – The one-word tweet Elon Musk sent that had cryptocurrency dogecoin soaring. That's it. That's the tweet.

That's So (Heavy) Metal

The Story

There are high levels of toxic heavy metals in some popular baby foods.


Yesterday, a congressional report revealed "significant levels" of metals like lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in trusted baby food brands (think: Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY, and Earth's Best Organic). Concerning, since all of these metals are listed on the World Health Organization's top 10 chemicals of public health concern. Investigators said that companies knew what they were doing, often selling foods that surpassed current regulations. And cited that some baby food and their ingredients contained up to five times the mercury level allowed in bottled water. Exposure to these metals can have dangerous effects.

Go on.

These metals have been tied to chronic disease and cancer. But exposure to toxic chemicals makes a baby's or child's developing brain especially vulnerable. Health officials say exposure can cause brain damage and can lead to a lower IQ, problems in school, and even criminal behavior later in life. The FDA noted that the toxic elements enter the food supply from natural sources: the soil, water, and air. So, it can be hard to completely avoid them. Pesticides used in farming can further increase exposure, but even organic products weren't off the hook.

What's being done?

Currently, the FDA doesn't have limits for heavy metals in most baby foods (except for infant rice cereal). And companies don't provide warnings to parents on their labels. On top of that, three other baby food brands (Sprout Organic Foods, Parent's Choice, and Plum Organics) refused to cooperate in the investigation – leaving investigators "greatly concerned" they had something to hide. The FDA says it's reviewing the findings and taking it "seriously." Now, investigators are calling on the agency to require manufacturers to test finished products, report the findings, and phase out the ones that contain high levels of heavy metals.

So, what can parents do?

Experts say parents can minimize the risk by avoiding rice cereal or products made with rice flour. Including the popular healthy-sounding puff snacks – which can be rice-based. And the same goes for sweet potato products. That's because these crops can absorb more pollutants during growth. Experts also recommend swapping them for unprocessed fruits and veggies, and to add in a variety of grains.


There's a lack of transparency between the food industry and its consumers. And a failure by the FDA to keep companies in check. Now, parents are left with serious doubts on how to ensure their children are safe and healthy.

And Also...This

Where the US is making changes…

Yemen. Yesterday, the Biden admin announced it will no longer support Saudi-backed offensive operations in Yemen. In 2015, a civil war broke out between the Iranian-backed Houthis and Saudi-backed forces. And the US began to quietly help Saudi Arabia (an ally) in the fight by providing intelligence support and billions of dollars worth of weapons. But the war has led to thousands of civilian deaths, and a humanitarian crisis that's got Yemen on the verge of famine. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle pushed for the US gov to end its support of Saudi Arabia – especially after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But former President Trump vetoed the effort. Now, President Biden's saying "this war has to end," and has fulfilled a campaign promise to cut off US support. But that the US will continue to have Saudi Arabia's back in the event of an attack. Saudi Arabia said 'thanks for that,' reportedly endorsing a "comprehensive political solution" to the crisis in Yemen.

  • Next steps: The US is pausing and reviewing arms sales with Saudi Arabia. And has announced a new special envoy to Yemen who can take diplomatic efforts to end the war.

  • Foreign policy focus: Yesterday, Biden called on Myanmar's military to give up power after its recent coup. And issued a memorandum on LGBTQ+ rights worldwide, directing officials to help secure protections and assistance to those who are also refugees.

Who lawmakers have been focusing on…

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Yesterday, the House booted Greene from two committee assignments. Democrats had pushed GOP leadership to remove her from the House Education and Labor and House Budget Committees, citing her history of racist, inflammatory, and false statements. But when the GOP didn't hop to it, Dems took matters into their own hands by scheduling a vote. Ahead of the vote, Greene said her comments "were words of the past." But all House Democrats and 11 Republicans voted to remove her. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the move was a "moral responsibility." But some Republicans think that even if Greene was in the wrong, it should be up to party leadership (not Dems) to determine committee assignments.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Earlier this week, House Republicans said she could keep her leadership role in the lower chamber. Cheney, the third-highest-ranking House Republican, came under fire last month for being one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Trump. But many Republicans rallied behind her, voting 145-61 to keep her as Republican conference chair. After the vote, Cheney said it was important the GOP remain united against "really dangerous" Dem policies.

What's on a positive trend…

Coronavirus cases. Earlier this week, the CDC said cases in the US have dropped by nearly 14% since early January. But that doesn't mean you should let your guard down...especially on Super Bowl Sunday. The CDC's urging people to not tailgate indoors, and take measures to stay in the safety huddle.

PS: On this week's episode of "Skimm This," The Athletic's Rhiannon Walker explains how the NFL plans to keep its players, coaches, and fans safe. Plus, what this means for future sporting events (read: Tokyo Olympics) taking place this year.

What's serving up more than burgers and frites...

Le Burger King.

Thing to Know

Temptation Bundling

When you pair a behavior you want to start doing with something you already like doing. And only do them together.

Experts say this strategy can help you build healthy habits. Example: if you love a certain podcast, you can motivate yourself to go for a run by only listening once you're out the door with your sneaks laced up. Noom is also about that life. They'll help you understand how and why you make the choices you do. And give you the support you need to stick with your wellness goals. PS: Skimm'rs can get a free 14-day trial. Tempted? Take their evaluation to get started.

Skimm Reads

"The Kindest Lie" by Nancy Johnson

We've got a special Skimm Read this week thanks to our friends at Book of the Month. Use code SKIMM to join now and get a copy for just $9.99. And then pick from five books every month to get one delivered right to your door. Talk about a book deal.

Lies have a funny habit of coming back to haunt us. Ruth Tuttle knows from experience. This gripping debut novel takes us on her journey to reconnect with her family and put together pieces of herself she thought she'd left behind after a long-held secret unwinds her perfect marriage. And it uncovers truths about race, class, and the American dream along the way. Don't miss it.


For when you are v over VPL…

Meet this brand's super soft, seamless underwear. It's made with 100% recycled fabric, carbon neutral and only $8. PS: Skimm'rs get 25% off 4+ pairs. What are you waiting for?

For when you're making sustainable swaps...

Respect. FLO can help you with that. They make healthier, eco-friendlier tampons, pads, and liners from 100% organic cotton and bamboo. Plus, they give 5% of their profits to girls and women in need. Menstru-great.*

For when you dream of smoother skin...

Glow up with SHAYDE Beauty's antioxidant-rich night cream, which works to brighten, firm, and even your skin tone while you zzz. It's vegan, gentle, and made to prioritize the needs of melanin-rich skin. Yes, please.*

For when you wanna show your partner just how much you adore them…

Serve up some mush. We've got a custom love letter blanket, a chocolate fondue set, and a memory jar that'll make them 'oooh' and 'ahhhh.' Love-ville, population two.

*PS: This is a sponsored post.

Skimm More

1. This Black History Month, we're taking stock of systemic racism within our society. And shining a light on the people and orgs making an impact. Our guide highlights the policy leaders and voting activists helping to push the fight forward and make Black voices heard.

2. Meet Fallon: She struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety. We spoke to her about her story and how she navigated this battle. And her advice to other moms.

3. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise and new variants spread, some researchers have found that wearing double masks can increase the level of protection from 50% to 75%. We've got more on what the experts say and how to make it work here.


We like to celebrate the wins, big and small. Let us know how your friends, neighbors, coworkers (and yes, even you) are making career moves, checking off goals, or making an impact in the community.

Creating ties...Chelsea V (TX). She's helped create Embrace Austin, a queer platform that aims to connect people, orgs, and businesses, and boost Austin's queer economy.

Hug emoji...Annalea A (WY). She helped develop a hugging booth at her local hospital so that long-term care residents can have a safe way to interact with others. Learn more.

(Some) Birthdays...David Lane (AUS), Robert Baker (CT), Rohini Menezes (NY), Johanna Silbersack (NC), Lauren Anderson (MI), Aditi Nim (CA), Jeanette Dahl (UT), Benita Brooks (FL), Christy Powdrill (AR), Melanie Coriaty (MA), Colleen Taylor (IL), Carrie Milbrath (VA), Phillip White (TX), Ashleigh Dickson (NC), Jan Engels (TX), Rafiq Chowdhury (NY)

*Paging all members of theSkimm. Reach out here for a chance to be featured.

Skimm’d by Maria del Carmen Corpus, Kamini Ramdeen, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain