The plaintiffs in the toxic baby food lawsuits that rose out of concern that heavy metals in baby food are causing autism and ADHD are asking the JPML to consolidate their cases in an MDL for expediency, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
Discovery of Toxic Heavy Metals in Baby Food
Parents initially learned about the potential presence of hazardous levels of toxic heavy metals in common and popular brands of baby food brands when lawsuits claiming the toxins caused autism in their children were filed in March 2021.
After that came a Congressional report about the levels of heavy metals in baby foods.
Since then, about 60 similar product liability lawsuits have been filed against baby food manufacturers in federal and state courts.
At this point, everyone was hoping the FDA would take action to protect the safety of children by addressing these concerns about heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. But so far, not much has happened, even though these three metals are well-known to scientists to cause brain damage in children even at very low doses.
Want to know it all? Read the motion below:
FDA Responds to Research on Toxic Metals in Baby Foods
Research has shown that exposure to these toxic heavy metals in early childhood can result in neurological developmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
However, in response to the 2021 research report, the FDA introduced the Closer to Zero campaign, with the goal of gradually reducing the presence of these harmful metals in baby food products over time. Which was at least something.
However, since this plan intends to phase out heavy metals from baby food by 2024 (and some experts have suggested it might take longer) how are parents supposed to safeguard their children from heavy metal exposure in baby foods in the meantime?
We never really got an answer. Instead, the FDA is relying on parents to due critical research themselves about which baby foods contain these hazardous materials.
"Unfortunately, the FDA has essentially left it up to parents to search every product they feed their kids hope they don’t contain arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals.”, said Attorney Matthew Dolman of the Dolman Law Group.
Hope in the Form of Lawsuits Against Baby Food Manufacturers
But, as the lawsuits continue to pour in, some lawyers are taking the step of motioning the federal courts to consolidate all toxic baby food cases into one single case to move things along, an MDL.
In this motion for an MDL, there is new hope.
The motion claims that 3,556 plaintiffs have similar allegations and want these cases to be handled by the federal court so that everyone—defendants, plaintiffs, and victims alike—can reap the benefits of an MDL.
It should be noted that consolidating the cases in an MDL has been tried once before in 2021 but failed for multiple reasons.
If the MDL is created, it’s likely to involve all the defendants including, Gerber, Hain Celestial Inc., Nurture Inc., Walmart Inc., Sprout Foods Inc., Plum Organics, and Beech-Nut Nutrition Company.
Benefits of a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)
Multidistrict litigation (MDL) offers several benefits to everyone involved in mass tort lawsuits:
- Efficiency in the proceedings.
- Experienced judges.
- Cost reduction for all parties involved.
- Consistency in legal decisions and case management.
- Faster resolution allowing plaintiffs to receive compensation or settlements sooner.
- Preservation of resources to build stronger cases.
- Reduced burden on federal and state courts.
- Promotes settlement since all parties are forced to discuss potential resolutions.
- Promotes fairness by giving all plaintiffs equal access to pretrial discovery.
- Efficient data collection and analysis due to the info from a large number of cases.
How These Toxic Metals Are Manifesting in Children
Unfortunately, the children who ingest elevated quantities of toxic heavy metals in these baby foods are exposed during one of the most sensitive developmental periods of life.
This exposure to toxic metals can cause severe issues, including brain injuries, diagnoses of neurodevelopmental conditions like autism and ADHD, developmental delays, neurocognitive disorders, behavioral disorders, respiratory problems, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Much attention should be given to this exposure to heavy metals because of their high toxicity potential, widespread use inside and outside the home, and now, in their food.
Now, we will just have to wait and see what happens with these lawsuits as they develop and whether or not they will be consolidated into an MDL in the future.
For the latest information on toxic baby food lawsuits, follow Lawsuit Legal News or contact our partner law firm, Dolman Law Group if your child is experiencing issues related to the ingestion of the foods and formulas in question. Dolman Law Group can be reached at 727-451-6900 or on their online form.