Baby food should have the highest safety and quality standards to protect infants’ health. It is common knowledge that kids are disproportionately vulnerable to harmful chemicals, even in small doses.
Unfortunately, recent research has revealed that baby food products contain high heavy metal quantities, including mercury and lead. This finding has sparked calls for legal action against accountable baby food manufacturers.
You can file a baby food autism lawsuit if your child develops autism or other neurological disorder linked to consuming baby food that contains toxic heavy metals.
But before that, read this post to learn everything you need to know about baby food autism lawsuits.
Baby Food Lawsuit Update 2023
The FDA covertly deleted the timelines for setting rules on the presence of heavy metals in baby food from its website.
Two months ago, the FDA announced proposed action levels for lead in various foods, including vegetables, fruits, single-ingredient meats, and yogurt.
It remains unknown whether the FDA engaged in some behind-the-scenes lobbying. But in the meantime, there could be a more effective way to remove heavy metals from baby food.
The first baby food autism lawsuit will proceed to trial in California on May 2, 2023.
Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, received a letter from a group of members of Congress blasting his agency for the delayed response to concerns about the heavy metal levels in infant food products.
The letter requests the FDA to act immediately to swiftly complete regulatory guidelines on the acceptable amounts of particular heavy metals in food products for the baby food market.
The FDA said it would release new recommendations for heavy metals in infant food in 2021. However, that process has been going very slowly.
The FDA has finally released its new proposed rules for the highest acceptable lead levels permitted in baby foods. The new regulations ban lead levels exceeding ten ppb (parts per billion) in baby food products.
Once the regulations are implemented, the FDA will take enforcement measures against baby food manufacturers who offer higher-quality goods.
Last month, one of the class action lawsuits against Plum citing heavy metals in baby foods was rejected for failure to state a claim.
A federal court in New Jersey dismissed the complaint after ruling that the plaintiffs’ attempts to prove financial loss were insufficient to support any accusations of consumer fraud.
The plaintiffs alleged they were defrauded since they believed the baby food they bought was harmless while it had unsafe heavy metals.
The court, however, determined that the plaintiffs had not claimed because they could not demonstrate that the baby food had no value.
The ongoing Tylenol autism class action lawsuit has somewhat overshadowed baby food autism lawsuits.
However, more than 100 cases against baby food companies are ongoing, alleging that they failed to warn about the presence of heavy metals in their baby food products.
Food manufacturers like Beech-Nut recently filed motions to dismiss these cases. The arguments in these motions will inform us of the defense strategy.
Baby Food Contaminated With Heavy Metals
It is generally recognized that heavy metals may seriously harm adults who unknowingly consume them, leave alone children who can suffer much more harm with lesser doses.
For instance, lead pipes harm young, growing children’s health far more than it hurts adults who consume similar amounts. Although lead pipes are a problem that still exists today, baby food products have always been thought to be safe.
Unfortunately, recent studies have shown this might be false in particular baby food products and brands.
Research on Baby Food Contamination With Heavy Metals
Heavy metals in foods have long been an issue of concern; naturally, infant food is no exception. So, findings of heavy metals in food products incited various examinations investigating how much infant food was impacted.
The Clean Label Project, a relatively small non-profit organization in Colorado, issued a report in October 2017 after testing 500 baby food samples and infant formula for harmful substances such as heavy metals.
The group discovered that lead was present in measurable amounts in 30% of the examined samples.
Many organizations researched the potential baby food contamination with heavy metals in response to this unsettling news.
- The FDA examined infant exposure to lead through food in 2018. It found that food was a significant cause of lead exposure in young kids.
- The Environmental Defense Fund, using the FDA food tests, discovered that 20% of the infant products tested contained significant amounts of lead.
- Consumer Reports tested 50 renowned infant food brands in August 2018, finding that almost two-thirds of them contained significant amounts of one or more neurotoxic heavy metals.
- Healthy Babies Bright Futures tested 168 packs of baby food in 2019. About 95% of them contained at least one heavy metal.
The U.S. House Subcommittee Staff Report
Congress ultimately launched an investigation, and the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, chaired by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, issued a report in February 2021.
The report confirmed that various famous brands of baby food contained unsafe quantities of heavy metals, including lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium.
The research revealed that baby food manufacturers like Gerber, Earth’s Best, and others had established guidelines that they deliberately chose to disobey, in addition to stating that their products had toxin amounts exceeding the FDA-mandated limits.
Most brands don’t even check their products for specific heavy metals. And when these infant food manufacturers tested for heavy metals, they did it on ingredients instead of the output, which is thought to distort test results by showing even higher levels of toxic compounds.
Moreover, some brands did not cooperate when public and regulatory pressure forced them to recall their products. The 2021 recall from Beech-Nuts was insufficient, and products from Gerber discovered to have unsafe heavy metal levels were not recalled.
Baby Food Brands Found to Have Heavy Metals
The congressional inquiry collected internal records and tests from seven major baby food producers in the U.S.
- Nurture, Inc., the seller of Happy Family Organics
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc, the seller of Earth’s Best Organic products
- Walmart Inc., which sells infant foods under the private brand Parent’s Choice
- Campbel Soup Company sells infant food products under the Plum Organics brand.
- Beech-Nut Nutrition Company
- Sprout Foods, Inc.
Of these seven, only Beech-Nut, Nurture, and Gerber complied; Campbell, Walmart, and Sprout Foods did not.
Their failure to collaborate raises fears that their brands contain more contaminants than their competitors, hence trying to hide it.
Baby food from each company that cooperated contained alarming but varying levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury.
These are the biggest baby food manufacturers and account for a significant percentage of the market. However, other smaller producers not included in the congressional report may also be involved.
The Degree of Baby Food Heavy Metal Contamination
For context, the FDA has set a stringent limit of 5ppb (parts per billion) for lead in bottled drinking water.
Tests on several brands showed that certain Nurture products contained lead levels of up to 641 ppb and 886.9 ppb in raw materials used to make Beech-Nut baby food products.
It is also worth noting that the EPA, FDA, WHO, CDC, and AAP all concur that lead exposure in newborns, even in small amounts, significantly increases their chance of developing cognitive and developmental disorders.
Some infant foods, including rice-based puffs, teething biscuits, sweet potatoes, and carrots, contained unusually high heavy metal amounts because these ingredients suck up the metals while still in the soil.
The House subcommittee report underlined the findings below about heavy metal adulteration of renowned infant food brands.
- Beech-Nut rice cereal contained 125 ppb of inorganic arsenic, with an average of 85.47 ppb of inorganic arsenic. The company’s tendency to test raw materials for heavy metals instead of finished goods may have led to its inability to find the harmful amounts of inorganic arsenic in its recalled products.
- Gerber’s rice cereal contained 116 ppb of inorganic arsenic, with an average of 87.43 ppb of inorganic arsenic in each rice cereal product. This surpasses the levels found in Beech-Nut products.
- Gerber has not taken steps to protect consumers, unlike BeechNut, which voluntarily recalled several of its merchandise and stopped selling its rice cereal altogether.
Heavy Metal Toxicity and Its Impact on an Infant’s Health
Children are sensitive even to small quantities of harmful chemicals, so the baby product market is subject to higher standards. Toxic heavy metal exposure significantly threatens children’s health since small amounts can raise their risk of cognitive and developmental disorders.
Heavy metals cross the blood-stream barrier and enter the brain tissue, displacing vital minerals and causing inflammation and oxidation stress. Through this interference with neurological function, heavy metals cause direct harm to the brain.
While this is a cause of concern for grownups, it is worse for children whose brain is still developing. Children may suffer irreversible harm that may negatively affect their growth trajectory.
Disorders Associated With Baby Food Contamination
Cognitive and developmental disorders are crippling and can potentially reduce a child’s quality of life.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that exposure to heavy metals increases the incidence rate of developmental disorders like ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children.
ASD is a wide range of disorders distinguished by verbal and nonverbal communication difficulties, repetitive habits, and social skills.
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Autism affects persons who have it in various ways. Individuals with ASD face different difficulties brought by diverse symptoms ranging from subtle to severe.
The following problems have also been linked to early exposure to heavy metals.
- Behavioral disorders like ADD/ADHD
- Imperiled immune system
- Developmental delays
- Learning disabilities
- Neurological defects
- Reduced IQ
What Heavy Metals Are Contaminating Baby Food?
Baby food products contain four primary heavy metals: arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium. Let’s have a general overview of each of them.
Inorganic arsenic is used in insecticides and herbicides and is among the most toxic heavy metals that individuals are exposed to.
This exposure results from the widespread use of inorganic arsenic in manufacturing processes and its extensive contamination of groundwater sources.
Arsenic is carcinogenic and affects the body even in tiny doses when ingested through the respiratory or digestive systems.
Exposure to any quantity of lead is not a good thing. Yet, lead contamination is a severe concern thanks to its widespread usage in paints, pipes, and industrial uses.
It has even been established that various baby food products contain this harmful chemical, causing many kids to develop autism.
Lead’s neurotoxic and cancer-causing traits have long been documented. Lead kills and damages body cells when consumed. Worse still, lead has a long half-life, which allows it to accumulate in the bones and brain for at least 30 years.
Mercury is another renowned toxic element found in several baby food brands. The harmful effects of mercury on the neurological, gastrointestinal, and immune systems are well known.
Although early mercury exposure has been reported to affect neurodevelopment, the liver and kidney are the most susceptible to its poisoning.
Cadmium is less common than other heavy metals. But still, it poses a significant risk to kids when it finds its way to baby food.
Cadmium is neurotoxic and carcinogenic, which, like other harmful heavy metals, may harm the body in general and impair neurodevelopment in kids.
Additionally, it frequently lingers in the body for years, causing cancer risk.
Damages Caused by Baby Food Caused Autism
Infants who eat baby food containing high heavy metal levels may develop autism and other neurodevelopmental and behavioral disorders, which drastically affect their quality of life. The damages resulting from consuming heavy metal-contaminated baby food include:
Developmental disorders resulting from these toxic baby foods can place a significant financial burden on the family of the affected child and the child when they grow up.
Economic damages include medical costs for diagnosis and treatment, a parent’s lost earnings, specialized care costs, and missed financial opportunities linked to autism.
Conditions linked with toxic infant food may also cause several non-economic damages. Parents may suffer great pain and suffering seeing their child with long-term injuries inflicted by an allegedly harmless product.
Developmental and cognitive issues can cause severe mental suffering in children as well. Another non-economic damage from baby food autism is a decline in quality of life.
Numerous individuals are filing baby food autism lawsuits against the product manufacturers to demand reimbursement for damages and hold them responsible for their negligence.
Product Liability Lawsuits Filed Over Harmful Baby Food
Over a hundred baby food autism lawsuits have been brought against several manufacturers, including Sprout, Gerber, and Beech-Nut. People will inevitably file additional individual cases or class action lawsuits as time passes.
Parents are filing these lawsuits for their injured children, claiming that the baby food manufacturers knew their products contained unsafe heavy metal quantities and still sold them.
Some baby food autism lawsuits cite negligent manufacture and distribution of contaminated baby food. In contrast, others cited failure to warn consumers of the danger that heavy metals in baby food pose to a child’s health.
Individual baby food autism lawsuits
Under civil law, those harmed by a product due to a design, production, or labeling defect can pursue compensation from the responsible parties. The liable parties here are the baby food producers.
Product liability lawsuits offer consumers a chance to rebuild their lives after an injury caused by an unsafe product and also ensure that the responsible parties pay for their negligence.
Plaintiffs in this litigation must demonstrate the connection between the harm experienced and the product defect and show that the damages resulted from using the products.
After the publication of the heavy metal-contaminated baby food report by the House subcommittee in 2021, there was an influx of solid proof that there were heavy metals in baby food, which prompted frustrated parents to file multiple lawsuits.
Class action baby food autism lawsuits
Most plaintiffs who initially filed individual lawsuits have since dropped the cases, perhaps because they received a settlement from the baby food manufacturers who wanted to avoid trial.
However, the need for class action lawsuits and multidistrict litigation has increased as more people have come forward with claims of children being diagnosed with autism and other medical problems linked to baby food heavy metal contamination.
Usually, when a defective product causes harm to a large number of people, the sheer volume of future claims makes it impossible for law courts and practically all concerned parties to handle each one individually. That is where class actions come in.
Many plaintiffs unite and file their cases under one umbrella with one representative instead of filing individual claims. That reduces the burden on law courts and may increase the chances of plaintiffs receiving fair settlements.
The only problem is that they may not receive equal compensation in a class action. Additionally, class actions do not consider how particular differences in every case affect a plaintiff’s needs concerning compensation for their damages.
Do I Qualify For a Baby Food Autism Lawsuit?
If your baby was diagnosed with autism, ADHD, or other developmental disorders after consuming toxic baby food, you may qualify for a lawsuit against the responsible manufacturer.
But you cannot just file a baby food autism lawsuit because your baby consumed food potentially contaminated with heavy metals.
To file a lawsuit, your child must have acquired a health condition linked to consuming these contaminated products.
A Product Liability Attorney Can Help
Several guardians and parents are considering their legal options in light of the possibility that baby food contributed to their child’s development of autism.
You must speak with a skilled product liability lawyer concerning your case before taking any action for autism brought caused by toxic baby food.
Parents of children who developed ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities, among other health problems, following heavy metal exposure in baby food should speak to a personal injury lawyer who has handled similar cases before.
A personal injury lawyer specializing in product liability lawsuits can give you the information and insights that only experience can offer, which will benefit your case.
You need an experienced attorney to represent you
Companies like Beech-Nut, Gerber, Sprout, and Walmart, which manufacture and retail these harmful products, will not hold back when defending themselves.
They have the funds to engage the best law firms to help them evade consequences for their actions.
Without the help of a qualified attorney, your prospects of receiving impartial compensation for your damages will be pretty low.
By engaging a qualified product liability attorney, you will match up to their level and give your lawsuit the expertise and resources it needs for success.
What a product liability attorney will do for you
A product liability lawyer’s assistance goes beyond legal counsel and court representation. Your attorney will also:
- Find expert witnesses to support your case
- Gather evidence for your case through investigation and research
- Conduct the discovery (exchange of information and evidence with the defendants)
- Calculate and determine the damages for which you may pursue compensation
- Negotiate a fair settlement offer that covers all your damages
- Assist with the documentation.
Speak to a Baby Food Autism Lawsuit Lawyer Today
When it comes to cases involving harm suffered by children due to a company’s negligence, it is crucial not to hold back and seek the assistance of the best lawyer.
There’s no better way to hire an experienced attorney than through us. Legal Giant is a lawyer referral service that partners with nationally recognized lawyers to help clients achieve expected case outcomes.
Our partner attorneys are familiar with product liability laws and will do everything, from gathering evidence, and court representation, to negotiations, to get you the total value of your case.
Contact us for a free consultation today.