Toxic Baby Food Lawsuits Autism & ADHD

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Heavy Metals Baby Food Lawsuit | Autism and ADHD

A government report on toxic heavy metals in baby food found that several brands—including some organic—contain arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead at high levels that pose significant dangers to the neurodevelopment of children. Indeed, all of these toxic heavy metals have been associated with autism, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and attention deficit disorder in children.

Parents throughout the country are outraged to learn that baby food products from Happy Family Organics, Happy Baby, Gerber, Earth’s Best Organic, Beech-Nut, Plum Organics, Parent’s Choice, and Sprout Organic Food contain “dangerously high levels” of toxic heavy metals. Worse, the major baby food companies behind these brands knowingly sold tainted baby food to unsuspecting parents, according to the report.

Numerous studies have linked toxic heavy metal exposure to behavior impairments. The link is especially pronounced among babies and young children, whose brains are still developing. Even at low levels, exposure to heavy metals can cause serious and irreversible damage to neurological development.

Tainted Baby Food Lawsuit – Justice for Parents of Children with Autism and ADHD

Attorneys from the national law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman are investigating the link between several major baby foods and heavy metals that are positively associated with autism and ADHD. If you purchased the baby food brands Happy Family Organics, Happy Baby, Gerber, Earth’s Best Organic, Beech-Nut, Plum Organics, Parent’s Choice, or Sprout Organic Food and your child later developed autism or ADHD, our firm is interested in pursuing justice and maximum compensation on your behalf.

“The level of exposure to these heavy metals known to be safe for infants is literally zero,” says Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman attorney Pedram Esfandiary. “These companies knew their products were toxic and they knew that if they told parents the truth, no one would ever buy tainted baby food. Concealing the known dangers of your products and profiting at the expense of your customers is already reprehensible. When you consider the customers in this case are kids, it doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Our firm is outraged by the recklessness of these baby food companies and we intend to hold them accountable in baby food heavy metal lawsuits.

If you would like to speak with an experienced consumer attorney legal team about your baby food heavy metals lawsuit, please contact us or give us a call at (855) 948-5098 for a free and confidential case evaluation.

What Heavy Metals are in Baby Food?

The U.S. House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy report ‘Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury’ alleges that toxic heavy metals were found in seven major baby food brands. The baby food report lists staggering levels of the following toxic metals:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allow for 10 parts per billion (ppb) inorganic arsenic, 5 ppb cadmium, 5 ppb lead, and 2 ppb mercury in drinking water. The House baby food report found 177 times more than the acceptable level of lead, up to 91 times more than the acceptable level of arsenic, up to 69 times more than the acceptable level of cadmium, and up to 5 times more than the acceptable level of mercury.

Toxic heavy metal exposure is capable of causing permanent decreases in IQ and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children. Infant exposure to heavy metals can endanger long-term brain function and neurological development.

The FDA and the World Health Organization have stated that heavy metals are dangerous to human health, particularly among babies and young children. A WHO report found that arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury ranked among the top 10 chemicals of major health concern.

What Baby Food Brands Have Heavy Metals?

The baby food brands listed in the 2021 Congressional report on baby food include:

  • Nurture – Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY
  • Beech-Nut
  • Hain Celestial Group – Earth’s Best Organic
  • Campbell Soup – Plum Organics
  • Walmart – Parent’s Choice
  • Sprout Foods – Sprout Organic Food
  • Gerber

Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber complied with the Congressional subcommittee's request for an investigation into the safety of baby foods. Walmart, Campbell, and Sprout Organic Foods refused to cooperate with the subcommittee’s request. According to the report, the subcommittee is “greatly concerned that their lack of cooperation might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.”

This is not the first time some of these companies have made headlines for contaminated baby food. In 2017, a non-profit organization called the Clean Label Project published data from an infant formula and baby food study that found arsenic, mercury, and lead in products from major brands. In 2019, an inquiry from Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) confirmed some of the revelations in the Clean Label Project baby food report.

Different Baby Food Brands

Which Products Have Toxic Metals?

The baby food products implicated in the 2021 baby food report include popular cereals, sweet potato puree, a variety of juices, and snack puffs, all of which are made by what many parents believed to be trusted baby food brands.

The subcommittee was particularly focused on snack puffs, which along with crackers, cookies, crisps, puffs, and teething biscuits, are particularly high in rice content. The rice puff products named in the baby food report include:

  • Apple & Broccoli Puffs (contained inorganic arsenic at 180 ppb)
  • Apple Rice Cakes
  • Banana & Pumpkin Puffs
  • Blueberry Beet Rice Cakes
  • Kale & Spinach Puffs
  • Purple Carrot & Blueberry Puffs
  • Strawberry & Beet Puffs
  • Sweet Potato & Carrot Puffs

Baby foods with rice have traditionally been problematic in heavy metals testing, especially when it comes to arsenic levels. In 2016, the U.S. FDA proposed a threshold for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal to 100 ppb. The FDA only recently enacted this regulation, which is still ten times greater than the amount of arsenic allowed in bottled water.

Beech Nut Baby Food Recall

On June 8, 2021, Beech Nut issued a voluntary baby food recall for its infant rice cereal because levels of arsenic in the products surpassed the FDA’s maximum allowable limit of 100 part per billion. In addition, Beech Nut announced that it will no longer sell infant rice cereal.

The implicated product in the 2021 Beech Nut recall is the Single Grain Rice Cereal item (UPC 52200034705) which carries the expiration date 01MAY2022 and product codes 103470XXXX and 093470XXXX. The product codes and expiration dates can be found at the bottom of Beech Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal product containers.

According to Happy Babies Bright Futures, this was the first ever recall of infant rice cereal due to high levels of arsenic.

Beech Nut’s baby food recall announcement came just a day after the Attorney General for New Mexico filed a lawsuit against Beech Nut and other companies. Like a previous complaint filed in April by Washington D.C.’s Attorney General Karl Racine, the lawsuit accuses the defendants of marketing and selling baby foods contaminated with high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. The lawsuits seek restitution and other legal remedies for failing to warn consumers about the dangerous levels of heavy metals in baby foods.

To stay up to date on any baby food recall, we recommend reviewing the FDA’s Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts page.

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Can Heavy Metals in Baby Food Cause Autism?

Yes, according to numerous studies linking the heavy metals arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury to autistic behavior. Babies and infants are particularly sensitive to heavy metals because their brains are still developing, and due to their smaller size, more of the heavy metals are absorbed into their bodies compared to adults.

Arsenic Autism Studies:

In 2019, researchers at the University of Buffalo conducted a meta-analysis of relevant published research on inorganic arsenic and lead exposure. The review concluded that there is consistent evidence supporting a positive association between early life inorganic arsenic exposure and diagnosis of autism or ASD.

A Chinese study published in 2018 found that evidence suggested heavy metal exposure played an in the etiology of ASD. Data in the study showed that children with ASD had significantly higher levels of both arsenic and mercury when compared to the healthy children control group.

Lead Autism Studies:

Data from a 2016 study published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment found a possible association between ambient lead concentrations and the prevalence of autism. The results demonstrate that “exposure to multiple metals may have synergistic effects on ASD prevalence.”

In 2015, researchers found levels of lead and other heavy metals in the hair of autistic children were higher than the control group. According to the study authors, exposure to toxic heavy metals “at key times in development, may play a causal role in autism.”

Mercury Autism Studies:

Researchers in Korea determined in a 2017 study that prenatal and early childhood mercury levels were associated with autistic behaviors. The authors recommended further long-term study on the mercury autism link.

A 2003 study confirmed previously published research demonstrating a direct association between increased exposure to mercury and neurodevelopment disorders in children. According to the authors, the data from this study “increases the likelihood that mercury is one of the main factors leading to the large increase in the rate of autism and other neurodevelopment disorders.”

Cadmium Autism Studies:

A 2020 study examined the potential links between certain heavy metals and autism. The findings are supportive of policies aimed at limiting exposure to neurotoxic metals like cadmium, particularly among pregnant women and young children, to help reduce the rise in autism and autistic behavior diagnoses.

In 2012, a study on heavy metals and autism found that children with autism had higher average levels of toxic metals strongly associated with ASD.

Can Heavy Metals in Baby Food Cause ADHD?

Yes. According to Consumer Reports, even low level of exposure to heavy metals at an early age can lead to ADHD.

Arsenic ADHD Studies:

Data from this 2020 arsenic ADHD study suggests an association between children exposed to inorganic arsenic and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Lead ADHD Studies:

Numerous studies in the medical literature link lead exposure to ADHD.

According to a 2019 meta-analysis conducted by researchers in Spain that looked at 17 studies on lead exposure and ADHD, “there is an association between lead and ADHD,” and “even low levels of lead raise the risk.”

A 2013 meta-analysis published in Clinical Psychology Review determined that the association between ADHD symptoms and lead exposure was similar in magnitude to the association between lead exposure and decreased IQ.

Mercury ADHD Studies:

A 2006 study on Chinese school children in Hong Kong found that higher blood mercury levels were associated with ADHD.

Cadmium ADHD Studies:

The results of a 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health determined that heavy metals, including cadmium, were associated with susceptibility to ADHD among school-age children. The study authors noted that the elimination of exposure to heavy metals “may help to prevent neurodevelopmental disorders in children.”

Is There a Baby Food Class Action Lawsuit?

In the days following the 2021 report, attorneys filed a baby food class action lawsuit against Plum Organics alleging the manufacturer misled consumers by marketing its line of baby food products as “made from the best ingredients.”

Plum Organics was not one of the companies that cooperated with the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy report. Nevertheless, Plum Organics was cited in the 2019 Healthy Babies Bright Futures report, which found many of the same toxic chemicals listed in the House report.

According to the baby food class action against Plum Organics, the company failed to disclose that its food products are at risk of containing “any level of heavy metals or other undesirable toxins or contaminants."

Baby food attorneys from the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman are not involved in the class action litigation. Our firm is mounting individual baby food lawsuit cases on behalf of parents with children diagnosed with autism or ADHD.

A Baby Food Attorney Can Help

If you purchased baby food products Happy Family Organics (including the HappyBABY line), Gerber, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best Organic, Parent’s Choice, Plum Organics, or Sprout Organic Food and your child later developed autism or ADHD, our firm is interested in pursuing a baby food lawsuit on your behalf.

Our attorneys have earned more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements. We take pride in our approach to representing families who have suffered hardships as a result of negligence or wrongdoing. Our firm will always do what is needed to get the best resolution possible for our clients.

Read more in our Press Release.

Call (855) 948-5098 or complete our online form to learn about your legal options.

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