Baby food is expected to be held to the highest standards of quality and safety in order to protect the health of the children that consume this product. It is no secret that children are particularly vulnerable as a demographic to even small amounts of harmful substances. So revelations concerning the high amounts of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium found in baby food have led to lawsuits against the responsible baby food brands.
Dolman Law Group is now providing legal representation for those with children that suffer from neurodevelopmental disorders like autism related to the consumption of baby food brands found to contain toxic substances. Our product liability lawyers have experience handling cases involving not only dangerous products that harm consumers but specifically those that affect children. These dangers include baby formula, Tylenol, and contaminated water supplies.
Contact Dolman Law Group to discuss your toxic baby food autism lawsuit to learn more about the compensation you can request for the damages you and your child have suffered as a result of baby food contaminated with heavy metals. Our firm offers free consultations, and we are prepared to listen to the details of your case. You can call our office at 727-451-6900 or fill out a contact form online.
- The Product Liability Lawsuits Filed Over Toxic Baby Food
- Toxic Baby Food Autism Lawsuit Updates
- Baby Food Contamination With Toxic Heavy Metals
- Reports on Baby Food Heavy Metal Contamination
- Baby Brands Contaminated with Heavy Metals
- The Extent of Heavy Metal Contamination of Baby Food
- Heavy Metal Toxicity and Their Effect on a Baby's Health
- Developmental and Behavioral Disorders Linked to Heavy Metal Contaminated Baby Food
- What Heavy Metals Are Contaminating Baby Food?
- Damages Inflicted by Toxic Baby Food Caused Autism
- How a Product Liability Lawyer Can Help
- Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Baby Food Autism Lawsuit
- Contact a Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit Attorney Today
The Product Liability Lawsuits Filed Over Toxic Baby Food
As of the end of 2022, there were over 100 lawsuits filed against various baby food companies such as Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Sprout. There will only be more lawsuits filed individually or as part of class actions as time passes. Toxic baby food autism lawsuits have been filed against baby food companies by parents whose children were diagnosed with autism or other related conditions after consuming products with dangerous levels of heavy metals that were knowingly placed on the market.
Some of these product liability lawsuits have been filed over the negligent production and sale of tainted baby food while others have been filed over the fact that there was no labeling warning of the risk the heavy metals in the baby food posed to a baby's health.
Individual Baby Food Autism Lawsuits
Thanks to civil law, consumers that are harmed by products due to a defect in design, manufacturing, or labeling during the use of those products as intended can seek compensation for damages from the relevant liable parties, which in this case would consist mostly of baby food manufacturers. Product liability lawsuits allow consumers the opportunity to get their lives back on track after an injury caused by a harmful product. They can also help make sure that those responsible suffer the consequences because of their negligence.
Plaintiffs in these cases must be able to connect the injury they suffered to the defect in the product in question and prove that their damages were a result of the product's use. With the release of the House subcommittee's report on baby food heavy metal contamination in 2021, overwhelming and credible evidence of heavy metals in baby food was made available leading to the filing of many individual lawsuits by outraged parents.
Class Action Lawsuits Over Heavy Metal in Baby Food
Most of the individual lawsuits that were initially filed over heavy metals in baby food have since been withdrawn by plaintiffs, likely due to settlements with the baby food companies wishing to keep these cases from going to trial. As more and more people came forward with cases of children developing autism and other health issues related to heavy metals in baby food, the need for multidistrict litigation and class action lawsuits has grown.
In many situations where a defective product harms a large swath of consumers, the sheer amount of potential lawsuits makes handling each one individually untenable for the courts and almost everyone involved, which is why class actions exist. Instead of each case being filed individually by each plaintiff, a large number of plaintiffs come together to file their collective lawsuits as one with a single representative. This alleviates strain on the courts and can give many plaintiffs an increased chance of seeing fair settlements.
However, class action lawsuits may not offer the same level of compensation that individual lawsuits may provide. Class action lawsuits also do not take into account the unique differences in each case and how that can affect the needs of a plaintiff in terms of compensation for their damages.
Toxic Baby Food Autism Lawsuit Updates
Before we explain the basis of these class action lawsuits, let's look at how the cases have progressed and the current status of the litigation. Originally, baby food lawsuits requested a refund for the baby food purchased because the consumers weren't warned about the dangers of toxic levels of heavy metals contained in the food. Later, the lawsuits focused on the children who were diagnosed with autism after consuming the toxic baby food.
May 2023 - First true baby food autism trial rescheduled in California
The first true test of manufacturers' liability for toxic baby food was originally scheduled for the beginning of this month. That jury trial has now been reset to October 2023. We'll keep you posted about the last-minute pre-trial happenings and the trial itself.
March 2023 - Nevada lawsuit is filed, Texas case is dismissed, and the FDA refuses to set limits on baby food toxins
Five plaintiffs in Nevada allege Beech-Nut, Gerber, Plum, Sprout Foods, and Walmart baby food caused autism. The legal arguments include strict liability, failure to warn, breach of the implied warranty of merchantability, three forms of negligence, and unjust enrichment, as well as violations of state-specific Nevada laws. The plaintiffs are demanding compensatory and punitive damages.
Another case in Texas ended mid-trial when the court agreed the plaintiffs had not proven a causal connection between lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals in baby food and autism. Those plaintiffs did not have qualified expert witness testimony to support the connection, showing just how important expert testimony can be in these types of cases.
Finally, the FDA had previously set deadlines for creating guidelines to reduce toxic metals in baby food. Those deadlines were removed from the FDA website, and we now wonder if the FDA will ever take the action needed to protect children from these risks.
January 2023 - Federal case numbers are dropping, and the FDA finally sets limits on lead in baby food
After an adverse ruling in New Jersey, several federal class action lawsuits were voluntarily dismissed. However, more state cases are expected, especially in California, where the courts have ruled favorably for the plaintiffs in these baby food cases.
Although the FDA found toxic heavy metals in 33 out of 39 baby food samples back in 2007, it refused to set limits or issue guidance about maximum safe amounts of metals in food. This month, the FDA finally released a report stating baby food cannot exceed lead levels of 10 parts per billion in vegetables, fruits, grain, and meat mixtures. Once the regulations are final, the FDA can take action against any baby food manufacturers that exceed this limit.
December 2022 - Defendants try to escape responsibility
Several baby food manufacturer defendants have filed motions to dismiss them from the lawsuits based on two arguments. First, they are arguing that there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove baby food can cause autism even with high levels of heavy metals. Second, the defendants claim that because federal authorities regulate the presence of heavy metals in baby food, the manufacturers are not responsible under a preemption argument.
November 2022 - Numerous baby food cases have been filed, and one trial is set
Over the past several months, many more lawsuits have been filed, and a first trial is scheduled for May 2, 2023, in Los Angeles. The most common defendants in these cases are Nurture, Inc., which produces Happy Baby Organics food, Gerber, Hain Celestial, Sprout Foods, Beech-Nut, Parents' Choice, and Plum.
May 2022 - California finds a sufficient scientific connection between baby food and autism
A California court found the evidence linking heavy metals to autism has a strong enough foundation to allow a lawsuit to proceed to trial. In federal court, a California judge ruled that a toxic baby food class action case could go forward based on the argument that Walmart knowingly sold baby food containing toxic metals.
Baby Food Contamination With Toxic Heavy Metals
Toxic heavy metals are well known to cause severe health issues among adults that inadvertently consume them, let alone children that can suffer even more damage with smaller doses. For example, lead pipes are known to cause even more harm to the health of young, developing children compared to adults that also consume water from the same pipes. While lead pipes are a well-known issue that persists to this day, baby food has long been considered safe. Unfortunately, a number of studies have confirmed that this could not be farther from the truth when it comes to certain brands and the baby foods they make.
Reports on Baby Food Heavy Metal Contamination
Concerns regarding the presence of heavy metals in food products are nothing new, but now these concerns extend to baby food. Reports of heavy metals in food prompted several investigations into the extent baby food was affected. In as early as October 2017, the Clean Label Project, a small nonprofit based in Colorado, published a report where they tested 500 samples of baby food and infant formulas for a variety of toxins like heavy metals. They found that 30% of all products they tested contained detectable levels of lead.
This disturbing revelation prompted a myriad of institutions and organizations to undergo their own investigations into baby food toxic heavy metal contamination
- In 2018, the FDA conducted its own investigations into childhood food-based lead exposure, which led to the conclusion that food was, in fact, a large source of lead exposure among young children.
- By analyzing the FDA's food tests, the Environmental Defense Fund found that there were measurable levels of lead in 20% of the baby products that were tested.
- In August 2018, Consumer Reports published results of their tests on 50 popular baby food products that found about two-thirds contained what they called “worrisome levels” of at least one neurotoxic heavy metal.
- In 2019 Healthy Babies Bright Futures reported that 95% of 168 containers of baby foods they tested contained one or more toxic heavy metals.
The U.S. House Oversight Subcommittee Baby Food Staff Report
Eventually, Congress investigated, and in February 2021, the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, headed by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, released a report that confirmed that many well-known baby food brands such as Gerber, Earth's Best, and others contained dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in their baby food products.
Not only did the report state that these many baby food brands had products that contained toxin levels above the limits set by the FDA, but it also uncovered that many of these brands had set their own standards that they themselves even chose to ignore. Many of the brands do not even test their products for certain heavy metals. Even when these baby food brands did test for heavy metals they tested their ingredients and not the finished product, which is believed to obscure test results with even higher concentrations of the harmful substances.
When some brands were forced to recall their products under pressure from consumers and regulators, they still failed to cooperate fully. Beech-Nuts' 2021 baby food recall was incomplete, and Gerber outright failed to recall their products that were found to have dangerous levels of heavy metals.
Baby Brands Contaminated with Heavy Metals
The congressional investigation requested internal documents and test results from seven of the largest baby food manufacturers in the country, specifically:
- Nurture, Inc. (Nurture), which sells Happy Family Organics, including baby food products under the brand name HappyBABY
- Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Hain), which sells baby food products under the brand name Earth's Best Organic
- Campbell Soup Company (Campbell), which sells baby food products under the brand name Plum Organics
- Walmart Inc. (Walmart), which sells baby food products through its private brand Parent's Choice
- Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)
Of the seven, only Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber cooperated, while Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods refused to comply. The report notes that their refusal to cooperate raises concerns that they may be obscuring the fact that their products potentially have even higher levels of toxins than their counterparts. All of the companies that complied with the investigation had baby food that contained arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium to varying and often very concerning degrees.
These are the largest baby food companies and represent a large portion of this particular market. Still, this controversy potentially could include a number of other smaller manufacturers not involved in this congressional report.
The Extent of Heavy Metal Contamination of Baby Food
To put things into perspective, the FDA has a strict limit for lead in bottled water at 5 ppb (parts per billion). In many of these brands, the lead content that was measured in tests would reach as high as 641 ppb in some Nurture (HappyBABY) products and 886.9 ppb in ingredients used in Beech-Nut baby food products.
It should be noted that The FDA, CDC, WHO, EPA, AMA, and AAP are in agreement that any amount of lead exposure among babies drastically increases the health risk of developmental and cognitive disorders. Certain baby foods, such as rice-based foods like puffs and teething biscuits, as well as those that utilize carrot and sweet potato, were found to have particularly high levels of heavy metals since those ingredients absorb them from the soil more.
The house subcommittee report highlighted the following findings regarding heavy metal contamination of popular baby food products.
- Beech-Nut rice cereal tested up to 125 ppb inorganic arsenic and averaged 85.47
ppb inorganic arsenic 3
- Beech-Nut's practice of testing ingredients, rather than finished products, for
toxic heavy metals appears to have contributed to its failure to detect the
dangerous inorganic arsenic levels in its recalled products;
- Gerber's rice cereal tested up to 116 ppb of inorganic arsenic, and its average rice
cereal product contained 87.43 ppb of inorganic arsenic, which is even higher than
the amount contained in Beech-Nut's average rice cereal product. While BeechNut recalled some of its products and completely discontinued sales of its rice
cereal, Gerber has taken no such actions to protect consumers; and
- Gerber's organic rice cereal is dangerous and has been found to contain up to 76
ppb inorganic arsenic and an average of 65.6 ppb inorganic arsenic.
Heavy Metal Toxicity and Their Effect on a Baby's Health
Parents are well aware that their children are especially sensitive to even trace amounts of potentially harmful substances, which is why the market for children's and baby products is held to a much higher standard. Toxic heavy metals pose a particularly dangerous threat to the health of children since even the smallest amounts can increase the risk for a number of developmental and behavioral disorders.
Heavy metal exposure directly causes damage to the brain due to heavy metals making their way through the bloodstream to your brain tissue through the blood-brain barrier, where they collect and disrupt neurological function through inflammation, oxidative stress, and the displacement of essential minerals. This is bad enough for adults, but children with still-developing brains can suffer permanent damage that can alter their path of growth in negative ways.
Developmental and Behavioral Disorders Linked to Heavy Metal Contaminated Baby Food
Developmental and behavioral disorders can be debilitating and potentially detract from a child's future quality of life. Toxic heavy metals and their exposure among young children have repeatedly been found to lead to an increased risk of developmental disorders such as autism and ADHD.
Autism spectrum disorder is a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, as well as speech and nonverbal communication. Autism is a spectrum and can affect those with it in a number of ways. Different people with autism will often face different challenges posed by different symptoms that can be more severe or subtle. Heavy metal exposure among children has also been shown to also cause the following issues.
- Developmental delays
- Learning disabilities
- Reduced IQ
- Behavioral disorders such as ADHD/ADD
- Neurological defects
- Compromised immune systems
What Heavy Metals Are Contaminating Baby Food?
There are four major offenders when it comes to heavy metals found in baby food. Lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are all well-known for their toxicity and are ubiquitous natural substances that come from inside the earth. All four of these heavy metals are on the Environmental Protection Agency's priority list of hazardous substances with arsenic, lead, and mercury in the top three spots and cadmium at number seven. While these metals are similar in that they are all toxic to children they all have some differences in how they cause damage as well as their prevalence.
Arsenic is One of the Most Prevalent Heavy Metals that Contaminate Baby Food
Inorganic arsenic is well known for its use in poisons like herbicides and pesticides but is also one of the most common dangerous heavy metals people are exposed to. This is due to the fact that inorganic arsenic is a common component in many industrial processes and has contaminated many groundwater sources at high levels. Arsenic is a known carcinogen and is toxic to the body in even trace amounts when absorbed through the digestive or respiratory system.
Lead in Baby Food Causes Autism
Ingesting lead is never good in any amount. There are many problems with lead contamination due to its use in pipes, paints, and other industrial applications. Now, many brands of baby food have been shown to contain this well-known toxic metal, and many children are now suffering from autism as a result.
The neurotoxic and carcinogenic properties of lead have been known for quite some time. Lead damages and kills cells in the body when it is ingested. What makes this worse is that lead stays in the body for a considerable amount of time, working its way into the brain and bones, where its extended half-life lasts for up to 30 years.
Toxic Mercury in Baby Food
Another well-known poisonous metal that has been found in many brands of baby food is mercury. Mercury is well documented as a toxic substance that attacks the nervous system, digestive system, and immune system. The kidneys and liver are particularly vulnerable to poisoning from this metal, although it is also known to cause disruption of neurodevelopment among children exposed to it.
Cadmium Contaminated Baby Food Affects Neurodevelopment
While cadmium is not as prevalent as the other aforementioned heavy metals, it still poses a distinct threat to children when found in baby food. Much like the other toxic heavy metals, cadmium is a neurotoxin and carcinogen that can not only poison the body in general but disrupts neurodevelopment in children. It also has a penchant for lingering in the body for years creating long-term risk for cancer and other health problems.
Damages Inflicted by Toxic Baby Food Caused Autism
Children that consume baby food with high levels of heavy metals are at a very high risk of having to contend with significant challenges as they grow and reach adulthood. Autism can range greatly in terms of intensity and the symptoms exhibited, but in many cases can negatively affect social life, career opportunities, education, and more. Other negative neurodevelopmental and cognitive issues can drastically reduce a child's potential quality of life.
Economic Damages Caused by Baby Food Containing Heavy Metals
These losses caused by toxic baby food consumption can range greatly in both economic and non-economic terms. On one hand, the developmental issues caused by these dangerous baby food products can result in a great deal of financial strain on an affected child's family as well as the child as they reach adulthood themselves. Medical bills accumulated to diagnose and treat these conditions, a parent's lost wages, specialized care expenses, as well as lost financial opportunity related to baby food-caused autism can be considered economic damages.
There are also the many non-economic damages toxic baby food-related conditions can cause. Parents can face a great deal of pain and suffering due to their children being permanently harmed by such a seemingly innocuous product. Children as well can experience significant mental anguish due to developmental and behavioral disorders. The decreased quality of life caused by toxic baby food can also be considered a non-economic damage.
It is because of these damages that many people have begun filing lawsuits against the aforementioned baby food companies in an attempt to not only seek fair compensation for damages but also hold these negligent companies accountable.
How a Product Liability Lawyer Can Help
Many parents are now questioning the role that baby food may have played in their child's autism diagnosis and how they can take legal action. Regardless of how you choose to go about pursuing litigation over autism caused by contaminated baby food, it is imperative that you always consult with an experienced product liability attorney about your case.
Parents or guardians of children with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, and other health conditions that could have been caused by exposure to heavy metals in baby food should meet with a personal injury lawyer that has a proven track record of handling these types of cases. A personal injury attorney that specializes in filing lawsuits over defective children's products can provide you with essential insight and information that only years of experience can provide. That experience can significantly benefit your potential lawsuit.
You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent Your Case
Companies such as Gerber, Walmart, Beech-Nut, Sprout, and Nurture Inc. that have been found to make and sell these dangerous products are not pulling any punches when it comes to their defense. These companies have the resources to hire teams of top-caliber attorneys to help them avoid consequences for the role they played in causing potentially thousands of children to develop autism thanks to heavy metals in baby food.
Without the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you will be facing very slim chances of seeing fair compensation for the damages you and your child have suffered. With a skilled product liability lawyer, you can level the playing field and give your case the resources and know-how essential for its success, either through a satisfactory settlement or in a trial.
What a Product Liability Lawyer Can Do For Your Baby Food Lawsuit
The assistance provided by a product liability attorney does not extend only as far as legal advice and representation in court. While providing legal insight and trial representation are integral parts of this process, your lawyer will also provide-
- Connections to expert witnesses
- Investigation and research of your case to gather evidence
- Conduction of discovery (the exchange of evidence and information with the defendant before a trial)
- Calculation and determination of what damages you can seek compensation for
- Negotiation of a settlement that covers the full extent of your damages
- Clerical assistance with documentation
Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Baby Food Autism Lawsuit
Dolman Law Group has successfully been assisting people across the country not only with product liability lawsuits over defective products but, specifically, products that have harmed children, such as Tylenol and baby formula. Our firm brings to the table nationally recognized and award-winning legal representation while emphasizing close client communication and service.
Many firms are happy to take on as many of these cases as possible in an effort to make a large net profit from the sheer quantity of lawsuits they handle that may not get the full value of compensation clients need to cover their damages. Dolman Law Group has a quality over quantity approach where we take on fewer cases but are able to provide those we represent our full undivided attention so that they get the best legal representation possible. This has provided us with a wealth of positive client testimonials and a reputation as a firm that delivers results but not at the expense of sensitive and empathic service to clients.
Do I Qualify for a Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit?
If you have fed your baby food from one of the aforementioned baby food brands and they have been diagnosed with developmental disorders such as autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, cognitive impairment, reduced IQ, etc. then you may be able to file a lawsuit against these baby food manufacturers. You cannot file a lawsuit just because you have fed your child baby food that may be contaminated with heavy metals. Your child needs to have developed some kind of medical condition tied to the consumption of these tainted products if you wish to file a lawsuit.
Contact a Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit Attorney Today
Dolman Law Group provides free no-obligation consultations to those considering filing lawsuits against baby food companies over their sale of heavy-metal-contaminated products that cause autism. When it comes to cases involving harm befalling children due to the negligence of large companies, it is in your best interest to work with the best, most tenacious legal representation possible.