As I sit here in the beginning stages of our baby's nursery I think about all the wishes I wish for our little one. All of the things I already want to protect him or her from. Everything I've learned about our world. Our food source. It's scary, but there's hope and definitely things we can do to make change.
Since becoming pregnant, it's become so much more than just making recipes. So much more than just cooking organically. It's been more about research, educating and becoming educated about what is truly being fed to our children. What we put in their bodies, on their delicate skin. These little innocent babes, who trust us to fuel them right from the very beginning.
Today, I wanted to talk about nanoparticles and get a little scientific in this space today. While I plan to exclusively breastfeed, we can never know if and when we may need to supplement with formula, and for those mothers who formula feed, we need to be educated on (and have the right to know) what's in these powders and liquids we are having our tiny little humans consume.
Partnering with Friends of the Earth, I got to learn a lot of eye opening facts about what is in some of the top brands of baby formula, and though I suspected shady ingredients, I can tell you it's not good.
Friends of the Earth, a grassroots company, hired some of America's top laboratory scientists to break down what it is we are up against, explored exactly what these findings mean and what we, as parents and consumers, can do to make a positive change. For not only our own children, but children of the future.
We are going to highlight their findings of hazardous nano-ingredients, namely nanoparticles, found within infant formulas. Like most additives and chemical ingredients, little is made known to the public about what these are and what the risks are to the health of our babies and to us. What was found was this: six popular brands of formulas were tested and were found to include three types of nanoparticles including “needle-like” nano hydroxyapatite, nano TiO2 (titanium dioxide) and nano silica dioxide. All items, and I hope this isn't just me, that I just simply don't want my new baby consuming. Or anyone for that matter.
Just like artificial colors, anti-caking agents and flavorings, we have to ask ourselves, at what point does risk outweigh benefit? With ingredients, (if you can even call them that), such as these, I believe they don't have a place in our food and I believe it's time we start urging more companies and the FDA to remove them. They are not needed, they are not safe to consume and there needs to be more education.
But I digress, let's touch a little more on nanoparticles before moving on to the companies who are using them.
When used in baby formula, nanoparticles pose their greatest risk, due to the infants vulnerable physiology. A baby's immune, central nervous, reproductive and digestive systems are still developing. With this in mind, when we expose them to unnecessary toxins, it can lead to irreversible damage that can cause disease throughout life. Scientists have proven that consuming these products cause kidney and liver damage and are toxic even at low doses, as well as contributing to gut inflammation, which if you know my background and how I ended up as a blogger and a nutritionist you know I'm no stranger to. So why are we allowing this to continue?
It is important for U.S. consumers to know that manufacturers are not required to list nanomaterial ingredients on product packaging in the United States. In our investigation, Friends of the Earth did not find any baby formulas that listed nanoparticles as ingredients, including the samples we found to contain nanoparticles via laboratory testing.
Are nanoparticles used in other kinds of products?
Many nanomaterials have already entered wide-scale commercial use and can be found in hundreds of products, including transparent sunscreens; light-diffracting cosmetics; penetration enhanced moisturizers; stain-, moisture- and odor-repellent fabrics; long-lasting paints and furniture varnishes; antibacterial household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and air conditioners; and sporting equipment. Beyond baby formulas, children’s products that contain engineered nanoparticles include skincare products and sunscreens, supplements, food containers, pacifiers, teethers, blankets, toys and stuffed animals, baby bottles, toothbrushes, baby carriages, bibs, baby clothing and many other products. So it is a widespread problem that needs to be addressed.
Are there alternatives available for baby formula?
In terms of using nano as a calcium supplement, there are many other calcium sources that can be used instead of nano hydroxyapatite, especially the needle-like form. Alternatives include non-nano calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Calcium used in foods and supplements contains varying amounts of actual elemental calcium. So yes, the nano TiO2 could be replaced with other ingredients,
So now that we have this information, what can we do?
Well, the first piece of action we can take is signing the petition to fight against these companies using the particles.
Second, we can continue to do thorough research for the betterment of our bodies and our children, choosing the healthiest options when it comes to what we are feeding our family. Opting to make change through where we spend our money and opting for healthier options against the mainstream companies using these potentially dangerous particles.
And lastly, join us during the Facebook party on May 19th at 6PM PST to speak with the researchers and Mamavation on these findings.
Where have you made healthy changes in your children's diet? And have you heard of nanoparticles and other artificial ingredients in infant formula? Would love for you to comment below and join in the conversation.
For more information visit the Friends Of The Earth website at www.FOE.org or search for one of the nanomaterials experts available for contact: ● Ian Illuminato, Lead Researcher and author of the report, Friends of the Earth ● Lisa Archer, Director, Friends of the Earth Food & Technology Program and Mom ● Tracey Woodruff, Reproductive Health researcher, UCSF ● Mark Mitchell, MD, National Medical Association ● Martha Arguello, Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles
This post was created as part of Friend of the Earth Blogger Partnership in which I was financially compensated to be a part of. My opinions are based on my own experiences and are entirely my own.