Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) changes the course of your life—for the child diagnosed with the developmental disability and their family.
As a parent, it can be shattering to learn that your child has autism. An ASD diagnosis means that your child will have to face many obstacles that other children won’t.
Even if your child’s ASD symptoms are comparably mild, they will have to live their life in a world that is, by and large, designed for neurotypical perspectives, not for the way they perceive and experience the world. When a child suffers from severe ASD symptoms, they may be completely nonverbal, and there may be little hope of them growing up to have the sort of life you envisioned for them—a life that includes succeeding in school, holding a job, and forming relationships with others.
As you’re worrying about your child’s future and spending your time and energy putting into place the care and services your child needs, you need someone to be fighting for your family. The tainted baby food lawyers at Console & Associates are investigating potential claims against major baby food manufacturers like Gerber, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best Organics, and others on the grounds that these manufacturers produced foods that are reported to contain unsafe levels of toxic heavy metals that, research shows, could raise the risk of developing ASD.
Our experienced team is here to speak with you about your family’s legal rights and options at no cost. For a free, confidential consultation with our baby food lawyers, call (866) 778-5500 today.
For many members of the public, the concerns over baby food contamination and autism began with the February 4, 2021, publication of the Congressional report “Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury.”
This report by the Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy was based on the Subcommittee’s review of baby food manufacturers’ internal test results and documents. The Congressional Subcommittee launched its investigation following the emergence of reports of baby foods containing unsafe amounts of heavy metals in November 2019.
What the Congressional Subcommittee discovered was that “commercial baby foods are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.” Specifically, the report noted findings of the following neurotoxic heavy metals in amounts that, in some samples, were well above the levels of heavy metals established as allowable for bottled water by the FDA:
Researchers all over the world have studied the link between heavy metals like these and autism spectrum disorder. For example, one 2018 article published in the international journal Biological Trace Element Research reported finding “significantly” higher levels of mercury and arsenic in the blood of children who had been diagnosed with ASD. It’s a real cause for concern—a sentiment echoed by researchers and regulators, as well as parents and legal professionals—for babies to be consuming these amounts of toxic heavy metals.
How serious is the contamination of baby food with heavy metals? Considering that the infants and toddlers consuming the products are particularly vulnerable to suffering serious harm from toxic exposure, it’s difficult to overstate the impact of the potential increase in risks.
“The developing human brain is uniquely vulnerable to toxic chemical exposures, and major windows of developmental vulnerability occur in utero and during infancy and early childhood,” researchers noted in an article published in the medical journal The Lancet Neurology. “During these sensitive life stages, chemicals can cause permanent brain injury at low levels of exposure that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult.”
As the Congressional Subcommittee put it in its report, “Exposure to toxic heavy metals causes permanent decreases in IQ, diminished future economic productivity, and increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior in children. Toxic heavy metals endanger infant neurological development and long-term brain function.”
Generally, the toxic baby food lawsuit cases currently moving forward have involved families whose young children have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Other potential problems that have been linked to toxic heavy metals exposure include increased risks of:
If an infant, toddler, or young child is displaying any symptoms of ASD or signs of atypical development, it’s important to get them the proper medical attention to reach a diagnosis and put together a care plan. Conditions like autism spectrum disorder can’t be “cured,” but early intervention is critical to helping a child with ASD learn essential communication and motor skills that will allow them to live their best life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The list of types of baby food products that were found to be contaminated with heavy metals in the Congressional Subcommittee’s review of the data is long, including:
In its report, the Congressional Subcommittee requested data and internal documents from the following baby food manufacturers:
However, just four of the seven brands complied with the Congressional Subcommittee’s request. As such, the Congressional report released in February 2021 primarily covered data from baby food products produced by Gerber, Beech-Nut, Nurture, and Hain.
“Nurture, Beech-Nut, Hain, and Gerber cooperated with the Subcommittee’s investigation, despite the fact that doing so exposed their reckless disregard for the health of babies,” the Congressional Subcommittee wrote in its report. “With that in mind, the Subcommittee questions why Walmart (Parent’s Choice), Sprout Organic Foods, and Campbell (Plum Organics) would refuse to comply with the investigation… The Subcommittee is greatly concerned that these companies might be obscuring the presence of even higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.”
Even choosing organic food products for your baby doesn’t remove the risk of heavy metals contamination. Although organic foods are grown without the use of conventional pesticides, they can still be tainted with heavy metals. In fact, organic baby foods are often made with brown rice, which contains even higher levels of arsenic than white rice, according to Harvard Health Publishing. As a result, arsenic has been found in organic baby cereal made with brown rice at levels even higher than that found in non-organic baby cereals made with white rice.
Unfortunately, parents had no way of knowing about this risk—at least, not until the Congressional report was published. That’s because, as the lawsuits currently filed against baby food manufacturers have noted, baby food packaging does not warn parents of the potential for heavy metals contamination of baby food and the risks it presents.
Officially, the FDA is the federal agency that is responsible for regulating the safety of baby foods in the United States. However, as CNBC noted in March 2021, the FDA “does not currently set limits on heavy metals for baby foods, specifically, except for arsenic in rice cereal.
This reality may seem to make little sense because the FDA does regulate the amount of arsenic, cadmium, and lead in bottled water. Legislation that could result in FDA regulation of heavy metals content in baby food products is pending, and the FDA has reported that it is taking the concern “extremely seriously” and taking steps such as corresponding with baby food manufacturers.
However, to parents who believe that the heavy metals exposure from baby food is what caused their children to develop autism spectrum disorder, these measures may feel like too little, too late. The fact that, according to the Congressional report, the FDA “ignored a secret industry presentation about higher amounts of toxic heavy metals in finished baby foods” only reinforces the frustration families may feel upon realizing that steps could have been taken to protect their children—but they weren’t.
Not only has the FDA’s lack of oversight of heavy metals content in baby food products allowed the baby food industry to essentially self-regulate, but—as evidenced by the results of the Congressional Subcommittee’s investigation—these manufacturers often deviate from their own policies for allowable amounts of heavy metals.
If you suspect that your child may have ASD or another form of developmental disability, it’s crucial that you work with their medical team to better understand their symptoms and reach a diagnosis and treatment plan. Parents can also reach out to tainted baby food lawyers if they need help figuring out the next steps in securing the care their child needs. You may also consider reaching out to a baby food attorney if your child has faced significant injuries or damages pertaining to other established risks of heavy metals exposure.
When you move forward with a baby food autism lawsuit, your family has the opportunity to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. The best available therapies and treatments for ASD can make a world of difference to many children who are diagnosed with this developmental disorder, but accessing and affording that care can be difficult.
Some of the types of damages that your child may be entitled to through a baby food lawsuit include:
As a parent, you want your child who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to have the best possible life and quality of life. When there’s reason to believe that the disability could be a result of the negligence of baby food manufacturers, you can and should hold these companies legally and financially accountable for the harm they have caused your child and your entire family.
Despite the Congressional report that found high levels of heavy metals in baby foods from leading manufacturers in the industry and the numerous research studies that have linked autism spectrum disorder to heavy metals exposure, it’s not going to be easy to win a products liability case against major baby food companies. To succeed in holding the baby food manufacturer accountable for exposing vulnerable infants and toddlers to neurotoxic heavy metals, you’re going to need an experienced legal professional fighting for you.
Families affected by an ASD diagnosis can secure no-win, no-fee legal assistance for baby food lawsuits. Class action attorneys are currently investigating claims for autism caused by heavy metals in baby foods, and it costs nothing upfront to speak with a legal professional or to move forward with filing a lawsuit.
If you’re ready to start seeking answers from the baby food industry—and the compensation you deserve—call the baby food lawyers at Console & Associates today at (866) 778-5500 or fill out our secure online contact form.