Recent research shines a light on the high levels of toxic heavy metals in common conventional and organic baby foods. Consuming heavy metals such as lead and mercury in high concentrations can have devastating effects on developing children’s brains and overall health, potentially causing autism, lower IQ, and other problems. Parents whose children have developed autism now seek justice by filing lawsuits against baby food manufacturers.
Every parent wants to provide their child with the best possible start in life. Discovering that the baby food products you fed your precious child were tainted with heavy metals and could have caused autism or other adverse health effects can feel shocking and deeply upsetting. Morgan & Morgan is on your side. We think it is appalling that innocent children are knowingly exposed to toxic heavy metals that could negatively impact the rest of their lives. Our compassionate and dedicated attorneys are ready to stand up for your child’s rights. Contact us now for a free case review.
Baby Food Tainted With Toxic Heavy Metals
According to a U.S. House of Representatives report dated February 2021, several common baby foods are tainted with high levels of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Brands affected include organic and conventional baby foods, such as:
- Nurture’s HappyBABY brand
- Beech-Nut Nutrition
- Sprout Organic Foods
- Walmart’s baby food brand Parent’s Choice
- Hain Celestial Group’s brand Earth’s Best Organic
- Campbell Soup Company’s baby food brand Plum Organics
The report found the heavy metals arsenic, lead, cadmium in all baby food products. Mercury was present in the only product that tested for it (Nurture’s HappyBABY). The results revealed concentrations of heavy metals several times higher than those allowed by current regulations for similar products. The levels found in baby foods exceed the amounts of maximum allowable heavy metal concentration set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for drinking water by several times:
- Arsenic: up to 91 times
- Lead: up to 177 times
- Cadmium: up to 69 times
- Mercury: up to 5 times
Some Companies Refused to Cooperate
Only four corporations cooperated with the investigation leading to the report, namely Nurture, Gerber, Hain, and Beech-Nut. Walmart, Sprout Organic Foods, and Campbell rejected all cooperation with the investigation. There is some concern that this refusal could be a deliberate attempt to hide the presence of even higher concentrations of heavy metals in these companies’ products.
The Effects of Harmful Heavy Metals on Children
Exposure to a high concentration of toxic metals can be severely harmful to children and adults alike. However, even small amounts of heavy metals can cause damage to a child’s developing brain. Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of toxins due to their smaller size and their organs and brains still developing. Heavy metal exposure has been linked to learning difficulties, cognitive problems, and behavioral issues. Some of the harmful effects of heavy metals include, among others:
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reveals that exposure to foods with high concentrations of toxic heavy metals can have devastating consequences for individuals, extending into their adulthood. Greater childhood lead exposure, in particular, was associated with declines in IQ, lower cognitive function, and lower socioeconomic status in adulthood.
Adverse effects of toxic heavy metals such as lead can also include behavioral problems, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impaired attention, autism, reduced executive function, and other health effects. Children exposed to high concentrations of toxic metals may also be predisposed to antisocial and criminal behavior.
Physical Health Problems
Toxic heavy metals may not only cause long-term cognitive and behavioral problems in children but could also cause the following health problems:
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Kidney dysfunction
- Vascular damage
- Nervous system disorders
- Skin lesions
- Immune system dysfunction
Being exposed to several toxic metals at once may have cumulative damaging effects on a child’s health.
Potential Side Effects of Specific Heavy Metals
Each heavy metal found in baby foods can cause specific side effects and conditions.
Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic can cause bladder, skin, and lung cancer. The substance is also linked to nervous system damage, lower IQs, and other cognitive deficits.
Exposure to lead can cause, among other harmful effects:
- Brain damage
- Attention deficits
- Behavioral problems
- Kidney damage
Excessive consumption of cadmium can lead to learning disabilities, bone disease, kidney damage, and heart problems. Cadmium is also carcinogenic and can contribute to developing cancer.
Mercury exposure can damage the nervous system, liver, kidneys, and immune system. Further, mercury can contribute to developing cardiovascular disease, vision problems, and memory impairment.
Baby Food Linked to Autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to various developmental disorder conditions affecting how a person perceives their environment. Individuals with ASD can have varying speech, learning, and social skills challenges. Some persons with ASD need significant support with managing their daily lives, while others can live independently. Although the exact cause of ASD is currently unknown, most scientists believe that there could be several factors causing the disorder.
Some of the risk factors assumed to contribute to ASD include:
- Exposure to heavy metals and toxins
- Low birth weight
- Having an autistic immediate family member
- Certain genetic mutations and disorders
The Link Between Heavy Metals and Autism
While the precise cause of autism is still debated, researchers have found evidence that exposure to toxic heavy metals can play a role in developing autism. Studies show that early exposure to heavy metals and other industrial chemicals can affect brain development negatively. According to a research paper published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), harmful neurotoxicants can include mercury, lead, arsenic, and other substances. Exposing babies and toddlers to heavy metals found in many baby foods can potentially cause autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.
Lawsuits Against Baby Food Manufacturers
Allegations made in baby food lawsuits concentrate on the presence of potentially unsafe and damaging levels of heavy metals, in particular, arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium. In March 2021, several plaintiffs whose children consumed the foods in question and were diagnosed with autism filed a legal complaint. Named defendants in the complaint include Hain Celestial Group, Inc., Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Inc., Gerber Products Company, Inc., and Nurture, Inc.
The plaintiffs allege that the defendants knew about their products being tainted with high concentrations of heavy metals and concealed this from consumers. They also put forward that the named companies failed to warn consumers about the toxic heavy metals and potential health risks. In legal terms, the lawsuits allege:
- Negligence of manufacturers
- Failure to warn
- Breach of implied warranty of merchantability
If you are concerned about your child being impacted by unsafe baby food, consider seeking your doctor’s advice. Consulting with our experienced lawyers can help you determine your legal options.