Baby Food Autism Lawsuit – Lawsuits Information Center Blog

Our law firm handles autism baby food lawsuits in all 50 states.

If you have kids, you probably have very fond memories of the days when you put them in a high chair and spooned them mushy, colorful baby food. It comes in small glass jars and almost all parents in the United States feed this product to their babies for about a year when they are too small to chew on their own.

The baby food itself seems entirely healthy and legitimately “organic” compared to other things. However, new research has shattered this wholesome picture. Several popular baby food brands have recently been found to contain alarming levels of heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium. All of these heavy metals are well known to be severe neurotoxins. Consumption of these baby foods may have caused thousands of children to develop autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Lawsuits are now being filed across the country against the makers of these tainted baby foods. These baby food autism lawsuits allege that the manufacturers were aware of the presence of heavy metals in their products and that the plaintiffs and/or their children developed autism from consuming them.

Discovery of toxic heavy metals in some brands of baby food

In October 2019, a non-profit organization called Happy Babies Bright Futures (“HBBF”), released a report containing the results of extensive testing of 168 different baby foods sold in the US market. The HBBF report revealed that more than 90% of the products tested were contaminated with arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury. All but nine of the 168 baby foods contained at least one of these metals, and most contained more than one. Specifically, the HBBF report identified “puffs and other snacks made from rice flour,”[t]rice crackers and rusks”, “infant rice cereal”, “apple, pear, grape and other fruit juice” and “carrots and sweet potatoes” manufactured by baby food companies as being particularly high in toxic metals .

Congress report confirms findings of toxic heavy metals in baby food

On February 4, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released a detailed investigative report titled Baby food is contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury (the “Congress Report”). The Congressional report confirmed the HBBF’s findings that many major brands of baby food contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury.

The levels of these metals found in baby food were several times higher than the levels allowed for other products like bottled water. For example, the FDA’s maximum safe level for lead in bottled water is 5 ppb. The Congress report found that Beech-Nut brand baby foods tested up to 886 ppb for lead and Hain Celestial (Nature’s Best) brands had 641 ppb. Other major brands, including Gerber, Campbell Plum and Walmart, had lead levels between 25 and 40 ppb, which was still 5 to 10 times above the safe limit.

The most shocking finding contained in the Congressional report, however, was that food manufacturers were apparently well aware that their products contained these high levels of toxic metals. Internal tests at numerous manufacturers confirmed that the foods contained dangerously high levels of lead and other metals, but the products were sold anyway. In fact, Hain Celestial actually held a meeting with the FDA where they acknowledged heavy metal contamination in their baby food products.

Link between autism and heavy metals

Autism spectrum disorder (“autism”) is a neurological disorder that impairs an individual’s ability to engage in normal social interactions, learning, and interpersonal communications. Autism comes in different levels of severity and a variety of related symptoms. Autism is not something that can be cured.

Although the exact causes of autism are not fully understood, there is some evidence that the consumption of toxic heavy metals (such as in baby food) can cause autism. Numerous studies published over the past decade have consistently found a positive association between exposure to toxic heavy metals (particularly during infancy and early childhood) and the development of autism.

One of the first widely recognized studies on the subject was published in 2014. This study found that environmental exposure to mercury during early childhood led to a twofold increase in the risk of developing autism. A 2017 cohort study of children in Korea found a similar link between mercury exposure and autism.

In 2019, researchers from the University at Buffalo published the results of an extensive study on the association between children’s exposure to arsenic and autism. The review concluded that there is consistent evidence supporting a positive association between exposure to inorganic arsenic in early life and the diagnosis of autism. Similar results were seen in another systematic review and meta-analysis published in 2020 by researchers at the State University of New York. This study found a similar link between autism and exposure to cadmium and mercury.

Lawsuits Alleging Heavy Metals in Baby Food Cause Autism

The Congressional report on heavy metals in baby food has prompted a number of product liability lawsuits against baby food manufacturers by parents who allege that these products caused their child to develop the autism.

The autism in baby food lawsuits are based in part on the findings of the Congressional report confirming that baby food manufacturers were aware that their foods contained dangerous levels of heavy metals. Some baby food companies have their own internal testing procedures to detect heavy metals in their products.

At the root of these heavy metal food lawsuits, these companies simply ignored test results indicating dangerously high levels of the metals. Many of these companies violated their own internal standards by doing so. It’s putting profits before babies.

Other manufacturers, such as Hain Celestial, simply don’t bother to test their products for heavy metal contamination levels. Some companies, such as Plum Organics and Sprout Foods, Inc., refused to cooperate with the congressional investigation, so we don’t know what tests they may have performed on their products. All of these baby food companies knew or should have known of the scientific research linking heavy metal exposure to higher rates of autism.

Sample Baby Food Autism Lawsuit

Shortly after the Congressional report detailing the extent of heavy metal contamination in various major baby food brands was made public, a group of baby food autism lawsuits were filed across the country. These lawsuits claimed that the baby food companies knew their products contained dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals and that the plaintiffs had developed autism as an immediate result of consuming the metals contained in these foods.

One of these autism tainted baby food lawsuits involved Lawrence v. Hain Celestial Group, et al., 1:21-cv-01287 (ED NY), which was filed in federal court in New York in March 2021. The 50-page complaint in Lawrence presents the full story of the discovery of toxic levels of heavy metals in baby food, beginning with the HBBF’s call to action to the subsequent congressional investigation. The complaint presents a detailed statement of the scientific evidence of causation regarding the link between autism and exposure to lead, arsenic, mercury and other heavy metals during early childhood development.

In the “Plaintiff Specific Allegations” section, the Complaint states that the Plaintiff was regularly fed Earth’s Best Organic and other brands of baby food made by the Defendants. The complaint relies on the Congressional report to claim that these foods were contaminated with various heavy metals and claims, based on “existing scientific evidence”, that the consumption of these metals in food caused her autism.

The complaint sets out 7 separate causes of action for product liability. Causes of action included strict liability claims for: warning defect, design defect, and manufacturing defect. The 4 negligence claims were based on the same 3 theories, plus an additional negligent misrepresentation claim.

Contact Our Toxic Baby Food Lawyers to File a Baby Food Autism Lawsuit

If your child has been diagnosed with autism and you believe it may be related to the ingestion of heavy metals from baby food, you can take legal action and seek financial compensation. Call our baby food autism lawyers at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.

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