Saturday, April 4, 2009


I know this topic isn't always the happiest, since the decision to breastfeed or not to breastfeed is a very personal decision for every woman. I'm just putting it out there, though.

CDC finds rocket-fuel chemical in baby formula
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona Published: 04.04.2009

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 — a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization — 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 is consumed are other factors that can influence risk.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, aware of the debate over perchlorate in food and water, has not recommended that people alter their diet or eating habits because of the chemical.
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.

"This study provides no data on potential health effects of perchlorate. Health authorities continue to emphasize that infant formula is safe," said Haley Curtis Stevens of the International Formula Council, which represents formula manufacturers.

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.


Colleen said...

OK, and I am just going to say that the two smartest kids in Jackson's class were fed formula when they were babies-maybe there is some "rocket science genes" in the rocket fuel, LOL!!! I think this topic is so funny because you either REALLY care about breastfeeding, or you REALLY don't! It doesn't seem like there is a middle ground! Does that make sense!!!??? I do like reading all the research about it though because anything baby related, I still take an interest in, I DON'T KNOW WHY!?? I am sooooooooooooo done having kids! Keep on sharing!

Karen said...

Although part of my post contributes to my pro-breastfeeding stance, mostly I think I'm concerned with all the crap & chemicals that are put in our food. Sometimes it feels like unless I grow my own vegetables I'm going to start growing a 3rd ear or something because of all the processed foods & preservatives & chemicals. Not to mention the recent food recalls. How can we be sure that the food on the shelves in the grocery store won't end up making us sick in the long run? It's really frustrating.

Gina said...

I second the crap in our food concerns.

This is super scary.