Current research and testing have shown that many commercial baby food products, including Beech-Nut baby food, are tainted with unsafe levels of heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium. These metals are very unhealthy and can cause neurologic disorders such as ADD and autism in developing children.
Our national product liability lawyers are currently accepting new cases from children who may have developed neurologic disorders (including autism or Attention Deficit Disorder) from consuming contaminated Beech-Nut baby foods.Congressional Report Finds Heavy Metals in Beech-Nut Baby Food
Lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium are elements referred to as toxic heavy metals and they are very harmful to the human body. Exposure to these elements has been specifically linked to neurological heath conditions in children with developing brains. Sadly, a recent investigation by Congress has shown that we may actually been feeding these toxic metals to our children for years without realizing it.
In the winter of 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy published a USHR Report entitled Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury (the “USHR Report”). The USHR Report detailed the results of the Subcommittee’s investigation into claims that Beech-Nut and many other commercial baby food brands were being sold with heavy metals in excess of maximum safe limits.
The investigation fully confirmed that Beech-Nut and other major brands of baby foods “are tainted with significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury.” The USHR Report also noted the evidence showing that exposure to these contaminants is harmful to infant neurological development and brain function.Heavy Metal Levels in Beech-Nut Baby Foods
Baby food products from 7 of the largest manufacturers in the U.S., including Beech-Nut, were found to contain unsafe levels of heavy metals, according to the USHR Report. The USHR Report provided information on the exact level of toxins found in the various food brands based on testing. Beech-Nut was one of the worst brands when it came to levels of lead, arsenic and cadmium. Beech-Nut brand foods had some of the highest levels of these 3 toxic metals, higher than any other brands.
- Arsenic Levels in Beech-Nut Baby Food
Arsenic is considered the most hazardous of all the toxin heavy metals covered by the USHR Report. When children are exposure regularly to arsenic it is known to cause not only neurologic problems, but it can also damage the central nervous system.
The maximum safe arsenic levels for bottled water set by the FDA is 10 ppb (parts per billion). The USHR Report found that Beech-Nut used ingredients after they tested as high as 913 ppb arsenic – 91 times the FDA’s maximum safe limit. This was the highest arsenic level for any ingredient used by any manufacturer. The USHR Report also found that Beech-Nut regularly used “high-arsenic” additives that tested over 300 ppb (30 times the FDA limit).
- Lead Levels in Beech-Nut Baby Food
Even at very small levels, lead is associated with a range of bad health outcomes, particularly neurologic and cognitive developmental issues in children. This is why lead is considered the second most harmful heavy metal regularly found in baby foods.
5 ppb is the FDA’s maximum safe level of lead for drinking water. The USHR Report concluded that Beech-Nut used ingredients in its baby food containing as much as 886 ppb lead. That is a staggering 177 times the maximum safe lead levels set by the FDA. The USHR Report also noted that Beech-Nut used many ingredients with high-lead levels, including 89 that contained over 15 ppg lead, and 57 with over 20 ppb lead.
- Mercury Levels in Beech-Nut Baby Food
After arsenic and lead, mercury ranks third as the most harmful of the heavy metals featured in the USHR Report on baby foods. According to various studies, pre-natal exposure to mercury can lead to adverse neurologic development. Testing has also shown that high blood levels of mercury in toddlers have been positively associated with “autistic behaviors.”
Even at extremely low levels, mercury can be harmful. The FDA has set the maximum safe level of mercury in drinking water at 2 ppb. The USHR Report states that Beech-Nut does not perform any testing for mercury in its finished products or ingredients, so we have no data of levels.
- Cadmium Levels in Beech-Nut Baby Food
Cadmium exposure in children has been linked to the development of ADHA and lower IQ. The FDA maximum safe limit for cadmium in drinking water is 5 ppb. The USHR Report found that Beech-Nut was one of the worst brands in terms of cadmium levels in its products. According to the report, Beech-Nut used 105 ingredients that tested over 20 ppb cadmium and some of its ingredients tested as high as 344 ppb cadmium.
The general toxic health effects of heavy metals are well recognized. Recently, however, a growing body of research is beginning to specifically connect exposure to these materials to autism, ADD and other neurologic conditions. Numerous medical studies have made a connection between regular exposure to heavy metals during infancy and childhood and higher rates of autism.
A study published in 2014 sought to evaluate the impact of prenatal and early infancy exposures to mercury. The study results suggested that mercury exposure caused a twofold increase in the risk of developing both autism and ADD. Three years later in 2017, a similar study on children in Korea found the exact same association between mercury exposure and autism/ADD rates.
A possible connection between early-age exposure to arsenic e and higher autism rates was identified in a meta-analysis study conducted by a University of Buffalo research team and published in 2019. A more comprehensive study was published in 2020 which found the same positive association between autism and exposure to mercury, arsenic, and cadmium during infancy.Beech-Nut Baby Food Autism Lawsuits
The USHR Report has led to a number of product liability lawsuits against Beech-Nut by parents claiming that their children developed autism (or other disorders) from heavy metals in commercial baby foods like Beech-Nut. Part of the basis for these lawsuits are the findings in the USHR Report which clearly show that Beech-Nut was aware of the fact that its baby food products contained heavy metals well above the maximum safe limits set by the FDA.
Since the USHR Report was published in February 2021, Beech-Nut Products Company has been named as a defendant in a number of consumer class action and product liability lawsuits involving toxic metals in baby food products. Our firm is currently seeking Beech-Nut toxic baby food lawsuits. Call today for a free consultation.