Heavy Metals in Baby Food Products Caused Neurological, Cognitive Damage In Child, Mother’s Lawsuit Claims
A Pennsylvania mother has filed a lawsuit against baby food manufacturers, alleging that toxic heavy metals in a number of popular products caused her child to suffer a host of health problems, including neurological brain damage, developmental and cognitive delays.
The complaint (PDF), filed last month in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia by Michelle Gardner, naming Gerber, Nestle USA, Inc., and Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, as well as Brown’s Super Stores, Inc. and Shoprite of Island Avenue, as defendants.
Gardner indicates that she fed her infant baby food sold by Beech-Nut and Gerber for months, believing the products were safe and healthy. However, after a House Oversight Committee report was released in February 2021, she discovered that the baby food contained high levels of dangerous heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury.
Consuming the tainted baby food, advertised to parents as nutritious for children, caused Gardner’s child to suffer neurologic brain damage, neurotoxicity, developmental delays, cognitive delays and deficits, injury to the central nervous system, speech deficits and delays, behavioral disorders, brain damage, impairment of motor skills as well as an increased risk of other future adverse events, the lawsuit claims.
The U.S. Congressional report highlighted internal documents and testing products for baby food sold by Gerber (doing business as Nestlé Nutrition), Beech-Nut Nutrition and other widely used products, finding that some baby foods contain high levels of toxic metals, with more than 91 times the maximum level of arsenic allowed in bottled water; 177 times the allowable levels of lead, 69 times the limits on cadmium, and five times the levels of allowable mercury.
Gardner joins a growing number of parents who have filed similar baby food lawsuits in the wake of that report.
“Defendants’ Beech-Nut baby food products and Gerber baby food products contain dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, in part, because of the ingredients used by defendants to manufacture the baby food products, dangerously inflated internal limits which defendants willingly did not adhere to, and corporate policies which failed to test finished products before distribution,” Gardner’s lawsuit states. “Astonishingly, despite the significant health risks posed by the toxic heavy metals in their Beech-Nut baby food products and Gerber baby food products, defendants knowingly sell these products to unsuspecting parents, in spite of internal company standards and test results, and without any warning label whatsoever.”
Although the manufacturers claim their products are safe and appropriately labeled, the 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.
Heavy metal exposure to infants is a serious concern. Lead exposure to children at any level is extremely unsafe. Prior studies have linked heavy metal exposure to behavioral impairments, brain damage, damage to the nervous system, seizures, growth impairments, and even death.
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