Toxic Baby Food Autism LawsuitsBaby 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 calls for 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 such as baby formula, Tylenol, and contaminated water supplies. Start your toxic baby food autism lawsuit as soon as possible. Consider contacting Dolman Law Group today about seeking compensation 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 is 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.
Baby Food Contamination With Toxic Heavy MetalsToxic 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 damage to the health of young developing children compared to adults that also consume the same amounts. 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 ContaminationConcerns regarding the presence of heavy metals in food products are nothing new and this naturally extends 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
- The FDA in 2018 conducted its own investigations into childhood food-based lead exposure which lead to the conclusion that food was in fact a large source of lead exposure among young children.
- Using analysis of 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 would publish 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 ReportEventually, Congress itself 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 more 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 properly cooperate. 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 MetalsThe congressional investigation requested internal documents and test results from seven of the largest baby food manufacturers in the country.
- 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)
The Extent of Heavy Metal Contamination of Baby FoodTo put things into perspective, the FDA has a strict limit for lead in bottled water at 5ppb (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 886.9ppb 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 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 inorganic arsenic, and its average rice cereal product contained 87.43 ppb 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 to average 65.6 ppb inorganic arsenic.
Heavy Metal Toxicity and Their Effect on a Baby's HealthParents 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 FoodDevelopmental 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 FoodInorganic 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 typically through the digestive or respiratory system.
Lead in Baby Food Causes AutismIngesting 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 FoodAnother 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 NeurodevelopmentWhile 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 AutismChildren 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 MetalsThese 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 child being permanently harmed by such a seemingly innocuous product. Children as well can experience significant mental anguish due to developmental and behavioral disorders. The decrease in 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.
The Product Liability Lawsuits Filed Over Toxic Baby FoodAs of the writing of this page, there have so far been 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. These toxic baby food lawsuits have been filed by parents on behalf of their harmed children against these companies that they assert knew that there were dangerous levels of heavy metals in the product yet put them on the market anyway. 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 LawsuitsThanks to civil law, consumers that are harmed by products due to a defect in design, manufacturing, or labeling during the use of said 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 and can 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 suffered as 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 FoodMost of the individual lawsuits that were initially filed over heavy metals in baby food have since been withdrawn by plaintiffs likely due to settlement 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 offer. 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.
How a Product Liability Lawyer Can HelpMany 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 which can significantly benefit your potential lawsuit.
You Need an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer to Represent Your CaseCompanies 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 estimated thousands 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 good product liability lawyer, you can even the playing field and give your case the resources and know-how essential for its success either through a satisfactory settlement or in trial.
What a Product Liability Lawyer Can Do For Your Baby Food LawsuitThe 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