TARGET 8 fact checks study claiming arsenic, lead found in baby food and formula

7 months 1 week 17 hours ago Tuesday, January 09 2018 Jan 9, 2018 Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:57:00 PM CST January 09, 2018 in Target 8
By: Shaletta Norwood, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Dorothy Willy is a new mother to her five month old baby. 

She said she loves everything about motherhood and looks forward to her baby's first big moments.

"I really can't wait for those first words," Willy said. "I just would love to hear the words Mama and I love you." 

Willy said she exclusively breastfeeds at this time. She said she was nervous about it in the beginning, but now she is used to the process.    

"I didn't know what to expect, whether I would be uncomfortable with it and the whole aspect of being out and about and not having a bottle," Willy said. "But I wanted to give her what was most natural." 

In October, a non-profit organization, the Clean Label Project, stated it found positive traces of lead, arsenic and other chemicals in baby food items like formula and jarred foods.

Executive Director Jaclyn Bowen said the organization purchased 600 top-selling baby food items and tested them for more than 150 industrial environment contaminants such as lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and BPA. She said the organization wanted to see what was in America's baby food. 

"We found that 78 percent of products had measurable levels of arsenic, 36 percent of products had measurable levels of lead," Bowen said. "We also found that certified organic products did have less pesticides; however, some of those same organic products had twice as much metals."

When the Clean Label Project released the study, news outlets throughout the country reported on the results. 

Willy said the study alarmed her. She said even though she breastfeeds, she is not against baby formula and food items. She said the study made her feel uncomfortable as a new mother. 

"It's a little scary and disturbing, especially for babies," Willy said. "They're so tiny and their digestive system isn't fully developed."

CEO of the Sweetwater Science Labs James Gawenis said he is skeptical when it comes to the study. He said there isn't a definite way parents could interpret the information on the organization's website. 

"Anyone looking at this website, as an expert in foods analysis, I would be saying don't even bother," Gawenis said. 

Gawenis said the main issue he noticed was the study had not been peer reviewed, and the information was arbitrary. He said data has to be transparent and measurable.

"Without a known value to based off of whether or not this is actually a dangerous material," Gawenis said, "You can't make an arbitrary evaluation." 

Bowen said people have questioned why the Clean Label Project did not release raw data or have the study peer reviewed. She said both of those things are in process.

"On the Clean Label project website, you can find our raw data and how we unmasked nearly 75,000 data points for parents," Bowen said. "We wanted to make it quick and easy, so we pulled that down and drilled it down to a five- star rating system."

However, Gawenis said the five-star system doesn't give parents a clear explanation of the organization's findings. 

"They just have this star system that doesn't tell you what it means, especially on the baby formula," Gawenis said.

The Analytic Chemistry Lab, Ellipse Analytics, conducted the organization's study. On the website, the study sample is shown only once, meaning there are not multiple tests on samples shown. 

Gawenis said parents should be cautious of that. He said the organization is also using words such as "nutritional value" and "contaminant", but not defining the meaning of those words.

"If you're not willing to make those definitions, all they are doing is creating a scare tactic to get you to buy certain things over the other," Gawenis said. "That's a sales gimmick."

Willy said she plans to stick to breastfeeding. She said she doesn't judge anyone who doesn't breastfeed and understands if baby food items are their only option.

"If I had to, I would," Willy said. "It would be nice if they were making a little more clear labels for parents."

Bowen said the Clean Label Project has five different funding sources, which are grants, donations, a certification program that it offers to manufacturers, a crowd-funding campaign and an Amazon smiles beneficiary.

Gawenis said he hopes the organization did the study for the right reasons. 

"It's good they're trying to do something good," Gawenis said. "But if they're not willing to give out what the actual demarcation lines are, it's useless information." 

If you are a parent who is concerned with your baby's food intake, contact the FDA, which has safe and quality food requirements. 

More News

Grid
List
BOONVILLE – About 100 people rode their bikes early Saturday to help raise funds for the 43rd annual Missouri River... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 2:23:00 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
PLATTE CITY, Mo. (AP) — Sheriff's deputies in northwestern Missouri's Platte County say they've seized more than 200 pounds of... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 1:48:56 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
BLACK JACK (AP) — A baby bobcat found in eastern Missouri and being nursed back to health might be mistaken... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 1:42:55 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Funding cuts to in-home care for the disabled could force some Missouri residents into nursing homes,... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 1:34:39 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Miller County Sheriff Louie Gregoire said two people suffered gunshot wounds Friday night. Gregoire said the suspect... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 1:23:00 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The North America Diving Dogs dock diving competition was in its second of three days Saturday at the... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 1:01:00 PM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is investigating an attempted burglary of an off-campus sorority house near MU. In... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 11:01:00 AM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department is currently investigating an armed robbery of Break Time North, 1210 East US 24.... More >>
8 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 10:18:00 AM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- New court documents filed in the case of a Colorado man suspected of killing his pregnant wife and... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, August 18 2018 Aug 18, 2018 Saturday, August 18, 2018 12:09:31 AM CDT August 18, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just audiotapes. Omarosa Manigault Newman has a stash of video, emails, text messages and... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 10:57:37 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health officials on Thursday approved a new generic version of EpiPen, the emergency allergy medication that... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 8:10:26 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- The bomb used by the Saudi-led coalition in a devastating attack on a school bus in Yemen was... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 7:41:13 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for the man accused of starting the Holy Fire that has... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 7:14:03 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An ethics panel says there's reason to believe that former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens broke the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 5:43:44 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A community Facebook post on a Jefferson City page said a student got dropped off at the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 5:22:00 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
BRANSON (AP) — A former employee of a southwestern Missouri paddlewheel tourist boat alleges in a lawsuit that he suffered... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 4:36:01 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
LINN- Forbes Magazine named State Technical College of Missouri as the third best two-year trade school in the country. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 3:44:00 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The Islamic Center of Central Missouri in Columbia is finally moving forward with an expansion project after... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 17 2018 Aug 17, 2018 Friday, August 17, 2018 2:37:00 PM CDT August 17, 2018 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 85°
7pm 84°
8pm 83°
9pm 79°
10pm 77°