April 4, 2009
Rocket Fuel Additive Discovered In 15 Baby Formulas
Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discovered the presence of percholrate "“ a chemical used in rocket fuel and also linked to thyroid disease - in 15 different types of baby formulas.
Percholrate has been discovered in the water supplies of some cities, and although it can occur naturally, it is usually found in high concentrations due to defense and aerospace sites, according to the AP.
Researchers said that levels of the chemical in baby formula could exceed the safe adult does amount if it mixed with water that already contained percholrate.
The study's findings were published last month, but a press release from the Environmental Working Group on Thursday highlighted the results.
No tests have been able to show a direct link between perchlorate and thyroid disease, but scientists claim that high levels of the chemical can affect thyroid function, which can impact fetal and infant brain development.
Regulators require that iodine be added to formula in order to counteract perchlorate's effects.
According to the AP: "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."
Dr. Joshua Schier, one of the study's authors, said it "wasn't a study of health effects."
The study compared 15 different types of formula and found perchlorate levels in each of them. Formulas that came from cows milk had the highest amount of perchlorate, researchers noted.
"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 represent formula manufacturers.
The EPA has announced it is considering new limits on the legal amount of perchlorate in drinking water.
According to USA Today, "Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the FDA "should immediately inform the public on how best to protect children from perchlorate contamination in powdered infant formula." In addition, she called on the Environmental Protection Agency to set a safe drinking water standard for perchlorate and ensure that drinking water is tested for perchlorate contamination."
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