The recent congressional report detailing high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods came as a shock to parents throughout the country. Certain baby foods, including purees, snack puffs, rice cereal, and other products, contain dangerously high levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead. Studies show that exposure to these heavy metals may play a role in causing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
Recently, in our blog, we detailed some of the baby food report's key findings and provided some helpful tips for parents on ways to avoid heavy metals. We also encouraged readers to contact their representatives to ask for the urgent passing of the Baby Food Safety Act of 2021, which you can still do by clicking here.
Today, we wanted to give parents another way to fight back against baby food manufacturers for knowingly selling products tainted with heavy metals. You may remember the law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman’s role in the Monsanto Roundup litigation. Baum Hedlund attorneys earned more than $2.4 billion in jury verdicts in two Roundup trials. These court victories paved the way for one of the largest mass tort settlements in history: $10.9 billion for tens of thousands of cases.
With the Roundup settlement secured, Baum Hedlund attorneys have now turned their attention to representing parents with children who consumed baby foods tainted with toxic heavy metals and developed autism or ADHD. Hundreds of people from across the country have already retained the firm to hold baby food manufacturers accountable for their childrens’ disorders. The companies responsible for the toxic baby foods include:
- Happy Family Organics and HappyBABY (Nurture)
- Earth’s Best Organic (Hain Celestial Group)
- Plum Organics (Campbell Soup)
- Parent’s Choice (Walmart)
- Sprout Organic Foods
“These companies deliberately crafted their labeling, marketing, and promotion to mislead consumers,” says baby food attorney Pedram Esfandiary. “Some went so far as to claim they adhere to ‘the strictest standards in the world,’ and provide ‘baby’s food full of nutrition while meeting standards strict enough for tiny tummies. Make no mistake: these companies knew that full disclosure of the true risks associated with their products would limit the amount of money they could make. They’ve chosen profit over children’s health.”
Toxic Metals Linked to Autism and ADHD
Arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are toxic heavy metals capable of harming neurological development in infants, babies, and young children, even at low levels. Kids—and babies in particular—have higher exposure to heavy metals than adults because they consume more food in relation to their body weight, absorb metals more readily than adults by 40 to 90%, and have not yet developed the mechanisms needed to metabolize and eliminate heavy metals.
Numerous studies strongly support a causal relationship between exposure to heavy metals and the development of autism in children:
- A 2019 study found consistent evidence supporting a positive association between early life inorganic arsenic exposure and diagnosis of ASD. The authors concluded that “it is in the best interest of policymakers and the public to reduce exposures to [arsenic] among pregnant women and children.”
- A 2020 review and meta-analysis found that mercury levels in blood, hair, and urine were all positively associated with autism. The study authors concluded, “these findings support policies that advocate limiting exposure to neurotoxic metals, particularly for pregnant women and young children, in order to help reduce the rising incidence of ASD.”
- A 2015 study concluded that mean levels of lead and other heavy metals in the hair of children diagnosed with autism were significantly higher than controls. According to the study authors, “[e]nvironmental exposure to these toxic heavy metals, at key times in development, may play a causal role in autism.”
- A 2018 study concluded that children with autism had significantly higher levels of mercury and arsenic in their blood compared with controls. “The results of this study are consistent with numerous previous studies, supporting an important role for heavy exposure, particularly mercury, in the etiology of ASD,” the authors wrote.
Likewise, studies have repeatedly associated toxic metals exposure with ADHD in children:
- In 2020, scientists observed a more than doubling of the risk for ADHD in children with blood lead concentrations ≥5 μg/dl, and a similar doubling of the risk of ADHD in children exposed to arsenic. The study “provides additional evidence to existing literature regarding the potential role of toxic metals such as lead and arsenic in children’s behavior.”
- A 2019 meta-analysis reviewed 17 studies on lead exposure and diagnosis of ADHD. Twelve of the studies identified positive associations between lead exposure and ADHD. According to the study authors, “the evidence from the studies allowed us to establish that there is an association between lead and ADHD and that even low levels of lead raise the risk”
- A 2014 meta-analysis observed a doubling of the risk for the association between mercury exposure and ADHD development.
- A 2014 study concluded that exposure to even low levels of lead “correlates with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, lead-contaminated environments are often contaminated with other heavy metals that could exacerbate lead-induced ADHD.”
Can I Join the Baby Food Lawsuit?
The best way to find out if you can pursue a baby food lawsuit is to fill out this contact form for a free and fast case evaluation by leading lawyers handling the baby food litigation. Your case will be reviewed immediately and a member of the baby food legal team will respond in a matter of days if you are eligible. Should you have any questions about pursuing a claim, feel free to call Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman at 800-827-0087.