California Parents Sue Enfamil Over Alleged "Forever Chemicals" in Baby Formula

Enfamil formula may contain harmful PFAs

Enfamil PFAs Class Action Lawsuit: California Parents Sue Over Health Concerns

California parents are alarmed by a new class action lawsuit raising concerns about undisclosed chemicals in Enfamil infant formula. The lawsuit, filed by Joel Hawes, alleges the popular brand's products contain "forever chemicals" known as per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to various health problems.

Does Enfamil formula contain “forever chemicals”?

Hawes commissioned independent testing of several Enfamil products, including Enfamil NeuroPro Infant Formula, Enfamil Simply ProSobee Plant-Based Infant Formula, and Enfamil Infant Formula Milk-Based Powder with Iron. The tests, conducted by third-party labs, reportedly found "dangerous levels of organic fluorine," a marker for PFAS.

These findings are particularly concerning because they exceed limits set by some state laws. The lawsuit cites California's recent legislation restricting the amount of intentionally added organic fluorine in cosmetic products to zero. It also highlights the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) finding that there is no safe level of PFAS in drinking water.

Are infants at risk from Enfamil formula?

The lawsuit emphasizes the potential health risks for infants who consume Enfamil formula multiple times a day.

"The Enfamil products are particularly concerning given the fact that an infant is being exposed to the products' contents through repeated ingestion several times a day," the lawsuit states. "The existence of organic fluorine in Enfamil formula raises significant health and safety concerns material to a reasonable consumer."

The lawsuit criticizes Enfamil's marketing practices for portraying the formula as safe and healthy, with no mention of PFAS or potential health risks. Parents likely would not have chosen Enfamil if they had been aware of this information, the lawsuit contends. 

The complaint further argues that parents are kept in the dark because they "do not understand what organic fluorine and PFAS are or their potential health risks."

Enfamil faces scrutiny after recall and quality control issues

This lawsuit comes after a major formula recall in 2022 due to contamination concerns. The FDA also sent a warning letter to Mead Johnson last summer regarding quality control issues at some manufacturing facilities.

Similar lawsuits target PFAS contamination

The Enfamil class action lawsuit is part of a growing trend of legal action against companies whose products contain PFAS. Here are some other examples:

  • Target: Up & Up Flexible Fabric Bandages are alleged to contain PFAS.

  • Health-Ade Kombucha: This popular kombucha brand is facing a lawsuit due to claims that their drinks contain PFAS and have been linked to health problems.

  • Kerrygold Butter: A class action lawsuit challenges the "pure" label on Kerrygold Butter due to the presence of PFAS.

In the Enfamil PFAS lawsuit, Hawes is seeking to represent all persons who bought one or more of the Enfamil infant formula products highlighted in the complaint in California within the last four years.

Case Details

  • Lawsuit: Hawes v. Mead Johnson & Company LLC et al
  • Case Number: 3:24-cv-02930
  • Court: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Plaintiffs' Attorneys:

  • Paul D. Stevens and Lauren A. Bochurberg (Stevens, LC)

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