Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rocket fuel, anyone?

So you thought only China has bad infant formula? Think again:

Scientists Find Rocket Fuel Chemical In Infant Formula

ATLANTA — Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what's considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found.

The study by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for the chemical, perchlorate, in different brands of powdered baby formula. It was published last month, but the Environmental Working Group issued a press release Thursday drawing attention to it.

The chemical has turned up in several cities' drinking water supplies. It can occur naturally, but most perchlorate contamination has been tied to defense and aerospace sites.

No tests have ever shown the chemical caused health problems, but scientists have said significant amounts of perchlorate can affect thyroid function. The thyroid helps set the body's metabolism. Thyroid problems can impact fetal and infant brain development.

However, the extent of the risk is hard to assess. The government requires that formula contain iodine, which counteracts perchlorate's effects. The size of the infant and how much formula they consume are other factors that can influence risk.

The study itself sheds little light on how dangerous the perchlorate in baby formula is. "This wasn't a study of health effects," said Dr. Joshua Schier, one of the authors.

The largest amounts of the chemical were in formulas derived from cow's milk, the study said.

The researchers would not disclose the brands of formula they studied. Only a few samples were studied, so it's hard to know if the perchlorate levels would be found in all containers of those brands, a CDC spokesman said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it was considering setting new limits on the amount of perchlorate that would be acceptable in drinking water. A few states have already set their own limits.

The EPA has checked nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more. About 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, and 31 had levels high enough to exceed a new safety level the EPA is considering.

Compare that to this crazy woman who wrote an article entitled "The Case Against Breastfeeding", in which she states that "the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates".

Let's also not forget about when just a few months ago, the FDA found traces of melamine in US infant formula. For fear of national hysteria, the FDA did not recall the affected formula.

Now I'm sure that the CDC would say that a little perchlorate or melamine never hurt anyone, that the detected levels are all very low, and that even if they were above what is considered safe that was still not enough to cause any harm. But I just don't buy it. And I won't be buying any rocket fuel-laced formula, either.

5 comments:

  1. That's why I like it when they get old enough for a little apple juice in a bottle for times that I'm not available to breastfeed.

    Raani

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  2. Nothing is safe anymore:(
    I'm glad to be able to nurse my baby!

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  3. Scary. My son was on formula. I planned on breastfeeding, but it didn't work out that way because of the agenda of some bad nurses. Now I wish I had gone through the trouble of pumping breastmilk for him. It would have been worth it.

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  4. Just a side not....contrary to popular belief not everyone can breastfeed. I tried. Hard. She wasn't getting enough.....I know because she would scream for more...we did everything we could...natural...unnatural...mechanical...feedings every 30 min....1 hour...2 hours....there just wasn't enough.

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  5. Hmmm..that explains why they are so "gassy". Totally kidding, but that is horrifying!!!

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