Enfamil Class Action Lawsuit Filed over Toxic Metals in Infant Formula
Amid growing concerns over the dangerous levels of lead, arsenic and other heavy metals found in popular baby food products, an Enfamil class action lawsuit has been filed claiming that Mead Johnson’s infant formula contains similar toxic metal contamination that could harm children.
The complaint (PDF) was brought by four plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois on January 26, asserting that Mead Johnson deceptively marketed its Enfamil infant formula products as safe, while failing to disclose the presence of dangerous heavy metals that could increase the risk of autism and other neurological disorders.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have long maintained that exposing infants and children to toxic heavy metals can cause a permanent decrease in IQ, an increased risk of future criminal and antisocial behavior, and untreatable and frequently permanent brain damage.
Prior studies have shown that heavy metals can bioaccumulate in the body, and that long term consumption of small amounts can increase the risk of various health issues, including behavioral impairments, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, seizures, growth impairments, and even death.
Toxic Metals In Infant Products
Concerns over heavy metal in baby food were first raised in a 2021 Congressional report, which highlighted the elevated levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury in many common baby food products.
Following the release of the findings, hundreds of toxic baby food lawsuits have been filed against Gerber, Hain Celestial, Inc. Nurture, Inc. or other baby food manufacturers, each raising similar allegations that exposure to the contaminated baby food caused children to develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or other side effects
As a result of the manufacturers’ failures to implement quality controls to prevent the presence of heavy metals, parents claim their children have been left wit neurological disorders from long term exposure to toxic metals, which could have been prevented.
Enfamil Infant Formula Toxic Heavy Metals
Similar to the allegations raised in many of the baby food lawsuits, the Enfamil class action lawsuit claims Mead Johnson has failed to implement and maintain adequate quality control measures to ensure its infant formula products are free of heavy metal contamination.
The complaint cites independent testing that has confirmed the presence of arsenic, cadmium, and lead in at least two Enfamil infant formula products.
According to the independent testing cited in the complaint, Enfamil ProSobee Soy Infant Formula was found to contain 6.2 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic, 6.9 ppb of Cadmium and 7.8 ppb of lead, and Enfamil Infant Formula Milk-Based with Iron was found to contain 2.2 ppb of arsenic, 0.7 ppb of cadmium and 2 ppb of lead.
Plaintiffs state that despite the manufacturer’s knowledge of these contaminates in Enfamil infant formula, the packaging does not include any type of disclaimer or disclosure regarding the presence of toxic metals that would inform consumers of their presence or risk.
Rather, Mead Johnson “knowingly, recklessly, and/or intentionally” sold “infant formulas that contained detectable levels of arsenic, cadmium, or lead, all known to pose health risks to humans, and particularly to infants”, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit claims Mead Johnson has reaped enormous profits through its deceptive, misleading and unfair marketing at the expense of consumers who must rely on the truthfulness of the products packaging.
As a result of these deceptive and potentially harmful practices, the lawsuit is asking the court to issue an order enjoining Mead Johnson from selling the infant formula until the unsafe levels of heavy metals are removed.
Enfamil NEC Lawsuits
The Enfamil class action lawsuit over heavy metal contamination comes amid hundreds of Similac lawsuits and Enfamil lawsuits currently filed throughout the federal court system by families who claim their child developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after using the cow’s milk-based infant formula.
NEC primarily impacts premature babies, occurring when the wall of the intestines is invaded by bacteria, leading to destruction of the bowel and often resulting in the need for emergency surgery while the infant is still in the hospital or death.
Families allege that the makers of Similac and Enfamil knew about their infant formula products increased NEC risks for premature infants, yet continued to market and promote their products to hospitals, doctors and parents, without warning about the problems.
Due to a growing number of infant formula NEC lawsuits filed in courts nationwide, each raising similar allegations, a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) was established in April 2022, which transferred all claims brought against the makers of Similac and Enfamil to U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer in the Northern District of Illinois.
As part of the centralized and consolidated litigation, Judge Pallmeyer has established a NEC lawsuit “bellwether” program, in which a select group of four representative claims are currently being prepared to go before juries beginning in the second half of 2024.
Following the four early trial dates, if the parties fail to negotiate NEC lawsuit settlements for families, it is then likely that Judge Pallmeyer will start remanding dozens of individual claims back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for separate trial dates.
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