Everyday we focus on what we are consuming and digesting. As parents, we try to feed our growing children healthy diets full of fruits, vegetables, protein, calcium, etc. We need to also remember that what we nourish our newborns and babies through the first year is also important. It is highly recommended to breastfeed through at least the first year of life, but due to many unforeseen issues, parents turn to formula to help nourish their babies. Parent’s put the trust in formula’s and formula companies that they are supplying the very best for their growing babies.
Friends of the Earth set out to do some research and tested 6 very common baby formulas used in the United States. The formulas that were included in this testing were:
- Gerber Good Start Gentle
- Gerber Good Start Soothe
- Similac Advance OptiGro (Liquid)
- Similac Advance OptiGro (Powder)
- Well Beginnings Advantage
While testing they came across positive results for nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are tiny-engineered particles. They are extremely small, about 1000x thinner than our human hair! All 6 of these formulas were tested positive for three types of nanoparticles including: “needle-like” nano hydroxyapatite, nano TiO2 (titanium oxide), nano silica dioxide.
Why is this concerning? The nanotechnology is still very new so there are not loads of information available about this new technology. This technology can be used to manipulate the genetics of humans and animals. Studies have already shown that feeding nonmaterial’s to mice can cause liver and kidney damage. This is the same nonmaterial’s already being used in our food industry, including baby formula.
It is extremely concerning that these nanoparticles are being used in baby formula due to the age and development of babies. Introducing and giving babies these nanoparticles can affect their central nervous systems, immune systems, reproductive and digestive systems. Putting these babies at risk when there is not much research available is very concerning.
Although, it is extremely concerning the issues and concerns surrounding nanoparticles, another major concern is that there are no laws in place to regulate the use of these nanoparticles. There are also no mandatory guidelines for companies using this new technology, which can be extremely dangerous and lead to mishandling. As consumers we have the right to know about everything we are putting into our bodies and putting into our children’s bodies.
Nanoparticles are not only used in baby formula but are also found in children’s skin products, baby bottles, baby clothing, bibs, long-lasting paints, furniture varnishes, and more.
What should the industry and consumers be doing? The industry should pull all formulas that contain nanomaterials and remove it from the formulas. In addition, there should be policies placed about nanomaterials. Consumers should know what they are buying contains nanomaterials.
To begin making changes Friends of the Earth has started a petition to tell baby formula manufacturers to remove nanoparticles from their products. Sign the petition here!
Take a look here for the complete report and press release.
Disclosure: This post was created as part of the Friends of the Earth Blogger Partnership in which I am a financially compensated blogger ambassador for Friends of the Earth. My opinions are my own and based on my own experience.