The Connection Between Toxic Baby Food and Autism 

January 4, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
The Connection Between Toxic Baby Food and Autism 

In recent years, a growing number of parents, legislators, and scientists have expressed concerns over the presence of heavy metals in popular baby food products. The various elements are known to possess neurotoxic properties and can increase an individual’s risk of suffering from debilitating developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

In the absence of robust federal regulations and successful legislative initiatives, many parents have filed baby food autism lawsuits against the negligent manufacturers of contaminated baby food products. Dolman Law Group is now representing cases from families whose children developed a neurodevelopmental disorder after sustaining dangerous heavy metal exposure from baby foods. 

If your child suffers from a developmental disorder such as autism that you believe is related to consumption of contaminated baby food then contact the offices of Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 or online via our contact page to schedule a free consultation on your potential baby food autism lawsuit.

Congressional Subcommittee Discovers Unsafe Levels of Heavy Metals in Baby Products

In February 2021, the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy published a highly alarming report about the presence of heavy metals in name-brand baby foods. The decision to investigate prominent manufacturers was partially a response to earlier regulatory initiatives in the FDA and shocking reports from Consumer Reports, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, and the Clean Label Project

The subcommittee discovered that various baby food brands displayed dangerous levels of heavy metals, including cadmium, mercury, lead, and arsenic. For example, products in Nurture Inc.’s HappBABY series displayed 180 parts per billion (ppb) lead and certain ingredients in Beech-Nut goods contained 913.4 ppb arsenic. 

Many companies established their own standards for testing, which the subcommittee deemed inadequate and ineffective, and knowingly sold products that posed considerable risks to consumer health. 

Product Liability Lawsuits Target Prominent Baby Food Manufacturers

In the months following the publication of the report, regulators and legislators sought to devise more effective federal standards for heavy metal levels in baby foods. Meanwhile, parents around the country resorted to filing baby food autism lawsuits in an effort to hold negligent manufacturers accountable. 

From May 2022 to December 2023, a flurry of filings in both state and federal courts throughout the country targeted prominent producers of popular baby foods, including: 

  • Nurture, Inc.
    • Happy Family Organics
    • HappyBABY
  • Beech-Nut Nutrition Company 
  • Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
    • Earth’s Best Organic
  • Gerber 
  • Campbell Soup Company
    • Plum Organics
  • Walmart Inc.
    • Parent’s Choice

In response, manufacturers undertook a concerted legal campaign to dismiss the litigation, citing a lack of clinical literature establishing a causal link between heavy metal levels in their products and neurodevelopmental complications. Although the courts have sided with the defendants in several cases, many baby food autism claims are either out on appeal or actively advancing. 

Studies Linking Heavy Metals to Autism Spectrum Disorder

In product liability litigation, plaintiffs must establish that their injuries were “more likely than not” to have been caused by the defendant’s negligence. When it comes to serious medical complications, clinical research is often a crucial component of the prosecution’s case, and a failure to submit compelling literature or expert testimony can jeopardize an otherwise legitimate claim. 

In the ongoing baby food autism lawsuits, plaintiffs frequently point to the following publications to prove a probable link between heavy metal levels and neurodevelopmental disorders: 

2019 Chemical Research in Toxicology Publication

A 2019 study published in the Chemical Research in Toxicology conducted an extensive systematic review and meta-analysis of extant literature addressing heavy metals and the origins of autism spectrum disorder. Researchers ultimately selected 51 studies on inorganic arsenic (iAs) and lead (Pb) which assessed the correlation between early life exposure and ASD. 

The study revealed that there was a positive correlation between the two in 53.3% of arsenic literature and 51.3% of the lead exposure research. Upon closer scrutiny, the authors reaffirmed the connection between iAs and ASD but argued there was “inconsistent evidence for Pb exposure and ASD risk”. 

2020 BMC Public Health Research

Another important research study from BMC Public Health sought to determine the role that heavy metal exposure assumes in the pathogenesis of childhood ASD. The researchers established one cohort of 30 children diagnosed with autism and another of equal size for the control. 

They subsequently determined concentrations of lead, arsenic, and cadmium in participants’ hair through the use of electron microscopy. Researchers discovered that arsenic and lead levels in the case group were “statistically significantly higher” than those in the control. Ultimately, the study concludes that the “children diagnosed with ASD suffer from [cadmium] deficiency and toxic metal overload (As and Pb).” 

In contrast to earlier studies, which primarily emphasized the correlation between heavy metals and ASD, the BMC study hypothesizes potential causation, stating that the observed “abnormalities may play the main role … in the pathogenesis of the analyzed disorder”.  

2023 Frontiers in Pediatrics Meta-Analysis 

The latest significant research study on heavy metals and ASD was published in a July 2023 edition of Frontiers in Pediatrics. Like the 2019 research, the authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of preexisting studies. 

After reviewing hundreds of articles, the researchers selected 53 for inclusion and established two cohorts of 2,533 children with autism and 2,521 without neurodevelopmental disorders. The study identified considerably higher levels of four heavy metals in the ASD cohort, including cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury. Researchers postulated that early life exposure to these neurotoxic substances may have epigenetic effects which could place children at a heightened risk of developing autism. 

Who Is Liable in Toxic Baby Food Autism Litigation? 

The manufacturers of baby foods contaminated by heavy metals either knew or should have known that their products could increase an individual’s likelihood of developing ASD. However, they failed to warn parents of these risks, misleading and endangering consumers. 

As a result, producers like Walmart, Gerber, and Campbell may be held liable for plaintiffs’ injuries and face various product liability charges, including:

  • Defective design 
  • Failure to warn
  • Breach of implied warranty
  • Negligence
  • Unjust enrichment

Common Damages in Baby Food Autism Lawsuits

Families often have to make considerable adjustments to care for and nurture children who have received a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder. In addition, households may experience long-term financial strains as the costs of doctors appointments, prescription medications, and specialist care outstrip available resources or insurance coverage. 

Fortunately, these losses may be compensable in a court of law in the form of economic and non-economic damages, such as: 

  • Medical expenses – past, present, and future
  • Lost wages and income
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Decreased quality of life 

Why Choose Dolman Law for Your Baby Food Autism Claim

At Dolman Law Group, PA, we maintain a steadfast commitment to defending the rights of consumers against the negligence of massive corporations – especially when they place children in harm’s way. For example, in recent years, we have participated in extensive product liability litigation involving the risks of prenatal Tylenol exposure and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) from contaminated baby formula

Our talented legal team possesses over 120 combined years of personal injury law experience and the track record to prove it. Striving to fuse the individualized treatment of a small firm with the resources and influence of a nationwide practice, we alleviate our clients of burdensome responsibilities, so that they can tend to their family's needs. 

Although the manufacturers of toxic baby foods are preparing for litigation with the best of legal teams, so can you. 

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help with Your Baby Food Autism Lawsuit

We strongly believe that the manufacturers of popular baby foods had a duty to inform parents of the risks their products posed to children. Instead, they withheld crucial information and jeopardized the long-term health and wellbeing of consumers throughout the country. As they prepare to defend themselves in court, we are on standby to offer advice and counsel to prospective plaintiffs. 

In a free consultation, our qualified baby food autism lawyers can explain your rights, determine the eligibility of your claim, and calculate the compensation to which you and your family may be entitled. Moreover, we work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless we successfully resolve your case. 

If your child was exposed to heavy metals in popular baby foods and subsequently received a diagnosis of a neurodevelopmental disorder, contact us today at (727) 451-6900


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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