Friday, April 3, 2009

Explosives chemical found in US baby formula

Explosives chemical found in US baby formula
Apr 04, 2009

WASHINGTON (AFP) - - A chemical used in explosives, fireworks and rocket fuel has been found in powdered baby formula in the United States, the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) said.

In "little-noticed findings," researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 15 brands of baby formula contained perchlorate, an oxidizer in solid fuels used in explosives, fireworks, road flares and rocket motors, the EWG said.

"Studies have established that the chemical is a potent thyroid toxin that may interfere with fetal and infant brain development," it said.

The EWG said the CDC study's findings raised "new concerns about perchlorate pollution, a legacy of Cold War rocket and missile tests."

The CDC study, which was conducted in 2006 and published last month in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, said perchlorate could inhibit the absorption of iodine by the thyroid and lead to growth and developmental problems in infants.

For the study, researchers tested samples of baby formula which they had picked up in a local shop.

The two most tainted brands, both cow's milk-based formulas with lactose, had a nearly 90-percent share of the US powdered baby milk market in 2000, the report found.

Mixing the tainted baby formula with perchlorate-contaminated water -- which is present in more than half the 50 US states, according to the study -- could boost "the resulting mixture's toxin content above the level the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe," the EWG said.

But the CDC researchers told AFP: "Most infant formulas mixed with perchlorate-free water (for the study) contained perchlorate at levels below EPA's conservative estimate of the highest daily dose of perchlorate that sensitive persons can receive over a lifetime without experiencing an adverse effect."

No attempt had been made to keep the findings of the study quiet, the researchers told AFP.

The sample size of the study was too small to allow generalizations to be made about entire brands of formula, they added.

The study did not name any of the formula brands that were tested.

"While this study increases our understanding of how infants may be exposed to perchlorate, CDC has made no new recommendations based on the findings," the researchers said.

No comments: