Short Answer: There is no reason to believe that most baby food causes autism. However, some baby foods, including popular brands, were found by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to contain elevated levels of certain heavy metals.

The origins and causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain a partial mystery, but risk factors can include diet, and many studies have connected having elevated heavy metals in the brain and an autism diagnosis.

If your child or loved one has symptoms of asd, speak to a healthcare professional,

If you believe your child or loved one diagnosed with autism may have been harmed by baby foods with heavy metals, speak to a personal injury attorney to discuss possible compensation options to help with treatment and support.

FDA finds certain brands of baby food contain elevated levels of heavy metals.

Studies have connected heavy metal content in the body with a diagnosis of autism. Be cautious and consider speaking to a healthcare provider about your concern.

When a parent has their first child, they want to do the best they can to protect and provide for them. This means ensuring what their infant consumes is safe. There has been research that connects heavy metals found in foods with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and unfortunately, there are certain baby food brands that may carry high amounts of these toxins. 1

Baby food brands found by the FDA to contain elevated levels of heavy metals include:

  • Beech-Nut
  • Earth’s Best Organic
  • Gerber
  • HappyBABY
  • Parent’s Choice
  • Plum Organics
  • Sprout Foods

Note: This does not mean all containers of these baby food brands contain heavy metals. The FDA conducted a months-long study and analysis of various samples of the products.

Read the FDA’s report here.

The brands listed in the can contain high levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which have been linked to developmental disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and ASD. Of course, not all foods will have these chemicals in them, but it is crucial for a parent to pay close attention to labels and to do their own research. The more a caregiver understands the potential for harm caused by tainted food, the better choices they can make for their infant.

Most baby foods that make it onto store shelves are safe. However, if a parent is worried about symptoms they’ve observed in their children, heavy metals could be the cause. If a child has been injured by tainted food, their family may be entitled to compensation.

What Do Heavy Metals Do?

Heavy metals cause more than nerve damage; they can cause brain damage, no matter a person’s age. Even trace amounts of these toxins can cause harm, so it’s important to limit one’s intake of processed or chemically treated foods, which are more likely to contain toxic ingredients.

The brain is supported by the body’s neurological and circulatory systems. The term “blood-brain barrier” is often used to refer to this set of safeguards. Most heavy metals, unfortunately, can get through the brain’s defense symptom. The toxins can disrupt a person’s cognitive abilities and impact development when they cross the blood-brain barrier. Infants are especially susceptible because their brains haven’t fully matured.

Why Are Heavy Metals in Foods?

When manufacturing baby food and kid’s meals, companies add vitamins, minerals, and potentially heavy-metal-containing additives. The more processed foods a person eats, the more likely it is that heavy metals will be ingested without them knowing it. Over time, the accumulation of heavy metals in the body may disrupt learning, behavior, and attention. In the most severe cases, developmental disorders may result.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Not every child who has consumed baby foods will develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD disrupts how an individual sees and interacts with others. It causes significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. Autism is classified as a ‘spectrum’ disorder because the symptoms and severity of the disorder can vary significantly from person to person.

Minimizing our heavy metal intake

It is difficult to eliminate all toxins from foods, including heavy metals. Even if a parent decides to make homemade baby food, there can still be some toxins in the products used. And washing fruits and vegetables won’t remove all of them. The levels of contamination vary, these contaminants are generally odorless and invisible to the naked eye. and it’s often impossible to tell they’re even there.

Most people ingest miniscule amounts and still stay healthy. It can also be difficult to determine whether food is responsible for an ASD diagnosis. Many things can lead to ASD, like prenatal use of Tylenol®, genetic abnormalities and environmental factors. Researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exact causes and each person’s case is different.

Symptoms of ASD

Common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder include impaired communication skills and an inability to engage socially, as well as confined or repetitive patterns of behavior or interests. The symptoms can be different for babies, and even if a child shows some signs of a disorder, it doesn’t always mean they have autism. Speaking with a healthcare professional is the best way to determine whether an ASD diagnosis is warranted.

Those with ASD may have unique approaches to learning, movement, and focus. (It’s worth noting that some persons without ASD may do the same). The following are some of the symptoms of ASD one can expect in a baby.

Three Months and Under

  • They do not follow movements.
  • They make little to no babbling sounds.
  • They aren’t smiling.
  • They won’t respond to loud noises.
  • They Ignore or avoid new people.

Three to Seven Months

  • They do not move their head to identify the source of audible noises.
  • They show little to no affection.
  • They do not giggle or coo.
  • They do not grasp items.
  • They do not spontaneously grin.
  • They do not attempt to get attention through their behavior.
  • They have no interest in such games as peekaboo.

Twelve Months

  • They may not be crawling at all.
  • They can’t speak any words.
  • They do not use motions like waving or head shaking.
  • They need help standing.

Since autism exists on a spectrum, a baby may experience one of these behaviors or all of them. It’s important to talk to the child’s doctor if ASD is suspected. This is something that can be hard to diagnose in small children but a clinician may be able to help pinpoint or confirm worrisome behaviors. If a professional identifies developmental issues, there is a chance that baby food, Tylenol® or another product is responsible. If the cause can be determined, the maker of the culprit product can be held liable.

Should a Parent Make Their Own Baby Food?

If baby food is made from fresh, whole ingredients, it will be healthier and tastier than anything purchased from a store. Bulk cooking saves money compared to buying ready-made, and when something is made from scratch, all of the ingredients are known and the risk of ingesting toxins decreases.

There are good reasons to make your own baby food, including knowing what goes in it – but knowing the source of all the ingredients may be difficult unless you grow them yourself.

Most store-bought foods are highly processed, and there is always a risk that ingredients used have already been contaminated with chemicals or treated in some type of way. Making homemade baby food allows for more control over additives. It may also help reduce stress and anxiety in parents concerned with what their child eats. 

Lawsuits Involving Heavy Metals and ASD

Early intervention is the best way to manage symptoms of ASD. If a healthcare professional thinks that baby food is the cause, it’s time to get a lawyer involved. Following federal and Texas state civil laws, a person or business is liable for the following:

  • Negligence: Every company must thoroughly research its product before making it available to the public.
  • Recklessness: Some companies may actively hide facts discovered after the product is made available and continue to sell it despite knowing they’ve caused harm.
  • Intentionality: A company may purposely bring to market a harmful product. 

Every case is unique. Getting a diagnosis is the first step. Then, working with an attorney who understands the ins and outs of the legal system will help an injured party get the compensation they deserve. Companies have an obligation to ensure their products are safe to use, and if they’re not, they must be held responsible.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that if your child has symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, you should contact a healthcare professional to have your child screened for ASD.

  • Info about screening for ASD is available on the CDC Website.
  • There is no cure for ASD, but there are autism therapies that can greatly help a child’s development.

Taking Tylenol® (Acetaminophen / Paracetamol) while pregnant can affect the child’s brain development. 2 3

“We have sufficient data from multiple populations and studies to say that acetaminophen is not as safe as it is considered.” 4

Prenatal acetaminophen consumption has been connected to:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Language delay (in girls)
  • Decreased Intelligence Quotient (IQ).5

We Are Warriors For The Injured

Our only goal is justice for our clients, whatever that means for them.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) attributable to acetaminophen taken during pregnancy, now is the time to seek legal assistance.

You need experienced attorneys on your side.

Our Austin and San Antonio mass tort lawyers have successfully represented dozens of victims injured by dangerous pharmaceuticals and other hazardous substances. That’s exactly why we were founded.

The legal team at Justinian and Associates has years of experience dealing with personal injury cases involving health conditions like ASD, and medications that are far more dangerous than represented by the companies selling them.

We have the knowledge, experience, resources and trained investigators to take on large adversaries like billion dollar manufacturing companies.

All we do is fight for injured victims.  And we do not accept defeat.

Unless we get you money for your injuries, you don’t pay us a dime.

Call, text or email us for a free consultation, with no obligation.

(855) 452-5529

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Speak to an Austin personal injury attorney from Justinian & Associates (not a “screener” or paralegal) to understand your rights.


[1] Baby Foods Are Tainted with Dangerous Levels of Arsenic, Lead, Cadmium, and Mercury. Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Committee on Oversight and Reform U.S. House of Representatives, 4 Feb 2021.

[2] A Systematic Review of the Link Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Acetaminophen: A Mystery to Resolve, interpreting data from Parker SE, Collett BR, Werler MM: Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and childhood behavioural problems: Discrepancies between mother- and teacher-reported outcomes. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020, 34:299-308. 10.1111/ppe.12601).

[3] Paracetamol use during pregnancy—a call for precautionary action, Bauer, A.Z., Swan, S.H., Kriebel, D., Liew, Z., Taylor, H.S., Bornehag, C.G., Andrade, A.M., Olsen, J., Jensen, R.H., Mitchell, R.T. and Skakkebaek, N.E., 2021. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 17(12), pp.757-766.

[4] A Systematic Review of the Link Between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Acetaminophen: A Mystery to Resolve, interpreting data from Parker SE, Collett BR, Werler MM: Maternal acetaminophen use during pregnancy and childhood behavioural problems: Discrepancies between mother- and teacher-reported outcomes. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020, 34:299-308. 10.1111/ppe.12601).

[5] Paracetamol use during pregnancy—a call for precautionary action, Bauer, A.Z., Swan, S.H., Kriebel, D., Liew, Z., Taylor, H.S., Bornehag, C.G., Andrade, A.M., Olsen, J., Jensen, R.H., Mitchell, R.T. and Skakkebaek, N.E., 2021. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 17(12), pp.757-766.