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Baby Formula Class Actions Filed Against Makers of BPA-Laced Products

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Los Angeles, CASix Southern California families have filed separate consumer fraud class actions against six different makers of baby formula and baby bottles containing Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastic and in the lining of cans.

BPA laced Baby Formula LawsuitThe cases, filed in May and June of this year against Avent America, Abbott Laboratories, Evenflo, Gerber, Handi-Craft and Mead Johnson claim that the companies engaged in unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business practices by carrying out false and deceptive advertising and selling of BPA-containing products which they knew or should have known to be unsafe. These parents were unaware that the simple action of washing bottles in hot water, boiling or micro-waving liquid baby formula can activate the BPA's release into future liquids.

The cases have been related and transferred to Judge Audrey Collins in the U.S. District Court in California in Los Angeles.

All six of the lawsuits allege that each company knew, or should have known, that their BPA-containing products were and are dangerous and could potentially cause injury to children and infants. According to the lawsuits, each company continued to sell, promote, market and distribute infant formula and baby bottles containing BPA with reckless disregard to its risks.

BPA, a synthetic estrogen used as an ingredient in polycarbonate plastic, is the most widely used synthetic chemical in the plastics industry. BPA leaches into the liquid from baby bottles and sippy cups and from the inner lining of canned baby formula containers, more so from liquid baby formula. Even at low doses, BPA poses serious health risks to the infants who subsequently ingest the tainted baby formula, irrespective of the source (baby bottle or baby formula container).

Liquid baby formula is known to be a more potent source of infant exposure to BPA than baby bottles because the liquid has been in constant contact with the BPA lining for weeks and in some cases months before consumption. Even worse, infants of parents who purchased both BPA tainted baby formula and baby bottles get a double exposure of BPA.

The suits accuse the companies of continuing to assert that BPA is safe long after hundreds of studies and published papers linked the chemical to hormone disruptions, infertility, early puberty, and cancer.

The lawsuits contend that it has been known for well over a decade that BPA is dangerous. Numerous published studies prove that BPA leaches from plastics and that it can cause severe negative health effects in lab animals. At very low doses, BPA is known to cause dangerous developmental, neural and reproductive health effects. More than 200 laboratory animal studies to date strongly suggest that BPA exposure, even at low doses, creates these same risks in infants and children.

Although human exposure is widespread (Centers for Disease Control found BPA at levels that raise health concerns in 95 percent of people tested), growing infants are particularly at risk to BPA because their immune systems are simply not equipped to detoxify powerful chemicals like BPA. Moreover, because infants digest formula almost exclusively during the first several months of their lives and because of their small size, infants are exposed to much higher proportions of BPA than adults.

Exposure to BPA has been linked to the following health problems: breast cancer; prostate disease and cancer; diabetes; obesity; hyperactivity; impaired, altered, and compromised immune system and functions; miscarriage; impaired female reproductive development; sperm defects; lowered sperm count; chromosome abnormalities; chromosome sorting errors; Turner Syndrome; Klinefelter Syndrome; genitalia deformity; early onset of puberty; impaired learning and memory; and increased aggression.

The team of lawyers representing these families are the Los Angeles-based firms of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman and Strange & Carpenter.

"BPA is poisonous and is harming children - the writing has been on the wall for some time now," stated bio-engineer and attorney Ilyas Akbari, of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman . "We are disappointed, but not surprised that the manufacturers of these products and the plastics industry continue to tout these products as safe for infants and children, despite hundreds of widely reported and published studies that confirm the risks. There are many feasible, safer alternatives--the fact that these manufacturers aren't discontinuing these products proves to me that they are putting profits over safety."


Baby formula cases filed:

Beckner v. Mead Johnson & Company, et al., No. 2:08-cv-03765,
filed on June 9, 2008 for use of BPA-laced Enfamil liquid formula used by her twins.

Anderson v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc., et al., No.
2:08-cv-03860, filed on June 12, 2008 for use of BPA-laced Similac liquid formula used by her child.

Baby bottle manufacturers cases (all filed on May 6, 2008).

Lanza v. Avent America, Inc., et al., No. 2:08-cv-02960 for
use of BPA-laced Avent baby bottles used by her children.

Rasmussen v. Handi-Craft Company, et al., No. 2:08-cv-02961
for use of BPA-laced Dr. Brown's baby bottles used by his twins.

Matusek v. Gerber Products Company, et al., No. 2:08-cv-02962
for use of BPA-laced Gerber baby bottles used by her twins.

O'Neill v. Evenflo Company, Inc., et al., No. 2:08-cv-02963
for use of BPA-laced Evenflo baby bottles used by her child.

Baby bottles have been more extensively tested for BPA than baby formula, and are known to pose a threat to the health of infants and children. In 1999, Consumer Report conducted tests of baby bottles made with plastics containing BPA. The report concluded that infants who used the type of bottles tested would be exposed to a BPA dose 40 times higher than the conservative definition of safety. Another study in
1999 showed that used polycarbonate baby bottles can leach BPA at daily levels that damaged the brain and reproductive systems in lab animals. Baby bottles can be heated, thus facilitating the leaching of the toxic chemical, by a dishwasher and boiling.

These studies, along with dozens like them, have been printed and are public knowledge. According to the lawsuits, the companies profited from consumer fraud, false and misleading advertising as well as unfair and deceptive business practices. By marketing, manufacturing, and distributing baby bottles and formula containing BPA, these companies either knew, recklessly disregarded or reasonably should have known that its products imposed significant health risks, and yet these defendants reaped millions of dollars in profits.

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