Baby Formula Contaminated With Aluminum, 40 Times More Than Breast Milk

New research from the UK found that a range of well known brands of baby formula sold there contain too much aluminum. Even though it’s common knowledge that infant formulas have been contaminated with aluminum for decades, this new study published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, raises concern over children’s health risks, pointing out that levels are still too high. Manufacturers don’t seem to consider it a health issue, but this non-essential element has been linked to diseases. What’s more, the concentrations of aluminum found in baby formulas are up to 40 times higher than those found in breast milk. A product made for preemies and a soy-based formula have particularly high levels of the contaminant. Studies have not shown that aluminum in formula causes adverse effects, but they haven’t shown the opposite either.

Why the Concern?

Researchers looked at 15 brands of infant formula sold in the UK including powdered, liquid, cow’s milk-based and soy-based products. Typically, powdered formulas contained more aluminum than liquid formulas. The results showed that infants using the formula would ingest up to 600 mcg of aluminum per day, an amount several times higher than what’s typically allowed in drinking water!

Even though scientists haven’t found a direct link between health issues and aluminum in formula, the possibilities of health problems are concern enough for many considering infants and preemies are a vulnerable bunch. And because infants’ gastrointestinal tracts, blood-brain barrier and kidneys are not yet developed, it’s widely accepted that infants are more vulnerable to aluminum toxicity.

There have been links between parenteral exposure of preterm infants to a level of aluminum exposure that’s possible from regular formula feeding over many weeks, and nuerodevelopmental affects and significant affects on bone health later in adolescence. This is a good reason for more research to be conducted on the impact of aluminum in infant formulas.

Why So Much Aluminum?

Manufacturers don’t add aluminum to infant formula, so how does it get in there? Researchers speculate a number of possible reasons including processing equipment, aluminum-based packaging, and in soy formulas, it’s likely due to prior aluminum accumulation in the soybean plants, a common occurrence.

After the jump, compare the numbers between formula and breast milk and find out how to keep your baby safe.

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4 Responses to “Baby Formula Contaminated With Aluminum, 40 Times More Than Breast Milk”

  1. Trina says:

    I’m confused, the 1st page says that liquid formal contains less aluminum and then page 2 says the experts say to buy powdered formula.

  2. UlrikeDG says:

    Isn’t “safe formula” an oxymoron? There are so many risks associated with breastmilk substitutes, formula should ALWAYS be a last resort.

  3. karentalexander says:

    In some areas of central America breast milk is viewed as dirty or tainted, perhaps due to the conditions (poverty, illness and pollution) that nursing mothers live in…men give gifts of formula to the new mother are viewed as a claim of paternity…check out “Death Without Weeping” by Nancy Scheper-Hughes for a more complete picture…

  4. VoijaRisa says:

    This article is a sneaky way of lying through numbers. While the formula may contain more than breast milk, the real issue is the amount that is actually absorbed into the body. A 1996 review of aluminum in infants (http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/pediatrics;97/3/413.pdf) found that even giving children formula that contained the highest levels of aluminum (generally ones for premature babies), they only absorbed small amounts and that these amounts where completely safe with the exception of infants that had other issues (namely renal failure). The rest is passed straight through.

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