Nano Tech Particles in Baby Formula – Buyer Beware

As a new parent, your choice of what you feed your baby maybe one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Breast milk is the best choice, and the best gift you can give your child to create the foundation for a strong immune system – Nature’s lifelong and best defense against disease. Le Leche League is a wonderful resource.

Organic baby formula is a good second option for your child or a transition food for your growing baby. But which to buy? Thrive Market has one of the best selections and they deliver to your home. The Breastfeeding Task Force of Greater Los Angeles tells us there are many risks associated with commercial infant formula. Formula feeding is responsible for up to 26% of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in children. Middle-ear infections are 3-4 times more common in children fed infant formula, and they are much more likely to be hospitalized for bacterial infections. Some studies have shown formula-fed babies don’t do as well on intelligence tests as breast-fed babies.

Most commercial formulas contain soy – read more about that here.

But one very important issue you won’t find on the label is nano particles.

Nano particles are very tiny particles which means they can go places that the larger versions of these molecules could not. Many of these nano particles are of synthetic origin and are structured like tiny sharp razors with an unknown and potentially harmful application in baby formula. Tech and chemical companies are raving about the many uses of this trending technology with little discussion of how this may impact health and the environment. The use of nano technology in food clearly is ahead of government analysis and oversite.

A team of scientists at Arizona State University recently analyzed six off-the-shelf baby formulas (liquid and powder) and found nanometer-scale needle-like particles in three of them. The particles were made of hydroxyapatite – a poorly soluble calcium-rich mineral. Manufacturers often use it to regulate acidity in some foods. The summary is well worth reading; find it here. The research was commissioned by the Friends of Earth (FOE); read their full report here.

In Europe, regulators work with the “precautionary principal,” thus food ingredients must be labeled if they are nanoscale. In the U.S., however, regulators have not developed any mandatory regulations or safety assessments for nanomaterials used in food or consumer products.

Nanomaterials can be used as nutritional additives, flavoring and coloring, anti-caking agents, or as antibacterial ingredients in food packaging. However, as the FOE report states: “Because of their very small size, nanoparticles are more likely than larger particles to enter cells, tissues and organs. Nano ingredients pose novel threats to human health.”

The Organic Consumers Association was there to let me know that nano technology was considered synthetic and would not be acceptable under USDA’s National Organics Program as certified organic products.

But what did one of the biggest organic baby formula manufacturers say about use of nano particles in their products? I called the Abbott makers of Similac® to find out more, after multiple attempts – no one could or would answer the question at their consumer affairs dept.  You can call Abbott and let them know you care about what goes into baby formula 800-850-7677.

Let them know consumers know about Nano particles & you are concerned!






Author: Rachel Linden

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