Toxic Heavy Metals Found in Soft Drinks, Juices May Be Risk to Children: Study

Nearly all popular fruit juice and soft drink beverages tested contained some level of lead, according to authors of a new study.

Following recent reports that have found high levels of toxic heavy metals in baby food products, which have been blamed for causing cases of autism and ADHD among a generation of children, a new study indicates that many popular fruit juices and soft drinks commonly consumed by children also contain high concentrations of harmful metals.

In a report published this month in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, researchers tested 60 widely available mixed fruit juices, sodas and other soft drinks, finding more than half of the products contained at least one heavy metal exceeding the allowable limits for drinking water.

Concerns over toxic heavy metals in children’s products were first publicly raised in February 2021, after a Congressional report identified dozens of toxic baby food products manufactured and sold a number of different companies, including Gerber, Beech-Nut Nutrition, Plum, Hain, Campbell, Walmart, Sprout and others contained, which contained dangerous levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.

Since early 2021, a series of baby food autism lawsuits have been filed by parents nationwide, each raising similar allegations that the manufacturers falsely marketed products containing toxic substances as safe for infants and children, while failing to disclose that metal exposure to infants can lead to neurological disorders.

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Baby Food Lawsuits

Toxic baby food sold by Gerber, Beech-Nut and other manufacturers contain dangerous levels of heavy metals, which may be the cause of autism and severe ADHD for children.

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Fruit Juices and Soft Drinks Contain Elevated Levels of Metals

In this new study, researchers tested 60 single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milks, sodas, and teas for 25 different heavy metals. The products were purchased in New Orleans, Louisiana, and are also widely available throughout the rest of the U.S.

According to the findings, almost all of the juices contained either elevated levels of heavy metal contaminants or trace elements, which may still be considered unsafe for children.

While the exact brand of the drinks were not disclosed, researchers indicate that mixed-fruit juices and non-dairy milks were most likely to contain levels of toxic metals above federal drinking water standards.

Two of the mixed juices were found to have levels of arsenic exceeding 10 microgram per liter, which is the federal drinking water standard for arsenic in drinking water set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Researchers stated there were certain drink products that were more likely to contain heavy metals than other. According to the samples tested, cranberry juice, mixed carrot and fruit juice, and oat milk each had levels of cadmium exceeding the EPA’s standards for drinking water.

The most commonly identified metals included including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic, and selenium, all of which have potentially harmful side effects. However, the study found that lead was the most commonly recorded metal, with 93% of the 60 drinks containing at least one part per billion of lead, or lower.

Health officials have long maintained that there is no safe level of lead for children, and even brief exposure can lead to lead poisoning, having a substantial impact on the child’s ability to learn and develop.

May 2023 Baby Food Heavy Metals Lawsuits

Manufacturers of products found to contain high levels of heavy metals are currently facing hundreds of baby food lawsuits pending in courts nationwide, involving allegations that children developed autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and other side effects.

While plaintiffs previously sought to consolidate the growing number of baby food lawsuits being filed in various U.S. District Courts in to single multi-district litigation, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied the request, stating the cases would be better handled individually, since allegations raised in the lawsuits are specific to the levels of different metals in baby food products offered by different manufacturers.

Since the ruling, families are continuing to file lawsuits against baby food manufacturers in various different state and federal district courts, and product liability lawyers are continuing to investigate claims for children who are currently under the age of 15, and developed any of the following injuries after exposure to heavy metals in baby food for at least one year:

  • Autism diagnosed between ages of 2 and 14
  • Severe ADHD diagnosed between ages of 8 and 14


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