Toxic Baby Food Warning
Toxic Baby Food Causes Neurological and Developmental Side Effects
Many of the most popular and trusted baby foods on the market have been found to contain toxic ingredients known to cause harm to young children. A congressional investigation revealed that raw ingredients and finished baby food products contain unsafe levels of four key heavy metals: arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead. When young children ingest toxic baby food contaminated with these substances, they can suffer from severe and irreversible damage in their neurological and brain development.
Attorneys handling toxic baby food lawsuits believe parents and family members of children who have developed side effects from toxic heavy metal contamination of baby foods may be eligible for significant compensation. This page provides a comprehensive look at toxic baby foods including common side effects and the brands under investigation for toxic baby foods.
Toxins Found in Commercial Baby Foods
Four prominent manufacturers of baby foods have been confirmed to sell toxic baby foods, and several others likely do as well. A 2021 congressional report revealed that Nurture, Inc., Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber all use toxic ingredients in their baby food, or sell toxic baby food products. Other major producers in this industry, Campbell, Walmart, and Sprout Organic Foods, refused to submit data on the levels of four key toxins in baby food products they make.
The baby food industry, which amounts to more than $6 billion in annual sales in the United States is largely unregulated. As a result, American families have been feeding their young children toxic baby food with no warning or knowledge of the risk. Worst of all, it is evident that manufacturers have been aware of the prevalence of toxins in baby food yet have taken no meaningful action to reduce the risk or warn consumers.
Congressional Report on Toxins in Baby Food Products
On February 4, 2021, a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Reform published a report entitled, â€œBaby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercuryâ€. To compile this report, the subcommittee requested internal company documents and baby food heavy metal test results from seven different manufacturers of commercial baby food products. Four companies cooperated, including Nurture, Inc, Beech-Nut, Hain and Gerber's. Three companies refused to submit their heavy metal baby food data, including Campbell, Walmart and Sprout Organic Foods.
The documents submitted revealed that many different commercial baby food products are tainted with high levels of toxic heavy metals. Similar information was reportedly presented to the Trump FDA in 2019, yet no action was taken. To date, baby food products with heavy metal ingredients do not include a label or warning to caution consumers of the risk of developmental defects and neurological harm. In its report, the subcommittee recommends the following actions be taken to limit heavy metals in baby foods and accompanying side effects:
- Require mandatory heavy metal testing of finished baby food products
- Institute standard labeling on baby food products to report heavy metal levels
- Phase out toxic ingredients and products
- Establish FDA standards for allowable levels of heavy metals across all finished baby food products
- Promote parental vigilance using the above tools and resources
Who can file a Toxic Baby Food Lawsuit?
Families whose child suffered from developmental or neurological problems as a result of consuming heavy metals in baby foods may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturers. Click here to learn more.
Arsenic in Baby Foods
Arsenic, one of the four main heavy metals found in baby foods, causes damage to the central nervous system and cognitive development in children. Children who are exposed to arsenic tend to suffer from reduced IQ, problems with their working memory, and limitations to their perceptual reasoning and verbal comprehension. Arsenic exposure from heavy metals in baby foods also causes a reduction in fine and gross motor functions, especially in boys.
The allowable level for arsenic in bottled drinking water is 10ppb. Each of the four companies in the congressional report markets baby foods with much higher arsenic levels:
- HappyBABY - 60-180 ppb arsenic in finished products
- Earth's Best Organic - 129 ppb arsenic in finished products; 309 ppb arsenic in some ingredients
- Beech-Nut - 913 ppb arsenic in some ingredients
- Gerber - 90 ppb arsenic in rice flour ingredient
Baby food products with heavy metal ingredients do not include a label or warning to caution consumers of the risk of developmental defects and neurological harm.
Cadmium in Baby Foods
Cadmium, the second of the four heavy metals found in baby foods, is known to cause a permanent reduction in a child's IQ (especially for boys), as well as an increase in diagnoses of ADHD. Babies exposed to the heavy metal cadmium through baby food experience life-long effects that may limit their cognitive abilities or overall functioning.
The allowable level for the heavy metal cadmium in bottled drinking water is 5 ppb. Each of the four companies included in the 2021 report sells baby food products that exceed this heavy metal allowance for cadmium:
- Beech-Nut: - 20-344 ppb cadmium in some ingredients
- Earth's Best Organic - 20-260 ppb cadmium in some ingredients
- HappyBABY - 5+ ppb cadmium in finished products
- Gerber - 5-87 ppb cadmium in jarred carrots
Lead in Baby Foods
Lead is widely known to be a threat to healthy development during early childhood, yet most parents only think of lead exposure as occurring through lead paint. In fact, lead in baby food is not uncommon. Lead exposure during early development causes behvioral problems, reduces cognitive performance, delays puberty, and reduces growth. In addition, lead in baby foods results in permanent harm to the brain and nervous systems, resulting in learning disabilities, compromised IQ and academic achievement, and ADHD.
The allowable level for lead content in bottled water is 5 ppb. Products and ingredients from each of the four companies reported upon documented lead in baby foods at levels far above this acceptable threshold:
- HappyBABY - 641 ppb lead in finished products
- Beech-Nut - 886.9 ppb lead in some ingredients
- Earth's Best Organic - 352 ppb lead in some ingredients
- Gerber - 48 ppb lead in some ingredients
The levels of toxic heavy metals in baby foods are alarming and inexcusable. Manufacturers of baby foods containing toxic contaminants must be held accountable for the irreversible harm they have caused to countless children.
Mercury in Baby Foods
Mercury is the fourth heavy metal contaminant found in baby foods. Similar to the others, mercury in baby food results in adverse neuro- and cognitive development, resulting in lower IQs and autistic behaviors in preschool-aged children.
The FDA's allowable level for mercury in baby food is 2 ppb. Only one of the companies, HappyBABY, was reported as having baby food products with up to 10 ppb mercury. Data were not available for Beech-Nut or Earth's Best Organic because neither company tests for mercury in baby food products. Similarly, Gerber did not provide data on mercury in baby food products because it tests these levels only rarely.
Overall, the levels of heavy metals found in baby foods are alarming and inexcusable. More than 3.5 million babies are born each year in the United States, the vast majority of whom ingest these harmful products during their most sensitive stages of development. Manufacturers of baby foods containing heavy metals must be held accountable for the harm they have caused, and the situation must be rectified immediately to prevent further damage to the next generation.
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Baby Food Lawsuits for Toxic Contaminants
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