TARGET 8 fact checks study claiming arsenic, lead found in baby food and formula

1 week 3 days 18 hours ago Tuesday, January 09 2018 Jan 9, 2018 Tuesday, January 09, 2018 10:57:00 PM CST January 09, 2018 in Target 8
By: Shaletta Norwood, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Dorothy Willy is a new mother to her five month old baby. 

She said she loves everything about motherhood and looks forward to her baby's first big moments.

"I really can't wait for those first words," Willy said. "I just would love to hear the words Mama and I love you." 

Willy said she exclusively breastfeeds at this time. She said she was nervous about it in the beginning, but now she is used to the process.    

"I didn't know what to expect, whether I would be uncomfortable with it and the whole aspect of being out and about and not having a bottle," Willy said. "But I wanted to give her what was most natural." 

In October a non-profit organization, the Clean Label Project, stated it found positive traces of lead, arsenic and other chemicals in baby food items like formula and jarred foods.

Executive Director Jaclyn Bowen said the organization purchased 600 top selling, baby food items and tested them for more than 150 industrial environment contaminants such as: lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and BPA. She said the organization wanted to see what was in America's baby food. 

"We found that 78 percent of products had measurable levels of arsenic, 36 percent of products had measurable levels of lead," Bowen said. "We also found that certified organic products did have less pesticides; however, some of those same organic products had twice as much metals."

When the Clean Label Project released the study, news outlets throughout the country reported on the results. 

Willy said the study alarmed her. She said even though she breastfeeds, she is not against baby formula and food items. She said the study made her feel uncomfortable as a new mother. 

"It's a little scary and disturbing, especially for babies," Willy said. "They're so tiny and their digestive system isn't fully developed."

CEO of the Sweetwater Science Labs James Gawenis said he is skeptical when it comes to the study. He said there isn't a definite way parents could interpret the information on the organization's website. 

"Anyone looking at this website, as an expert in foods analysis, I would be saying don't even bother," Gawenis said. 

Gawenis said the main issues he noticed was the study had not been peer reviewed, and the information was arbitrary. He said data has to be transparent and measurable.

"Without a known value to base off of whether or not this is actually a dangerous material," Gawenis said. "You can't make an arbitrary evaluation." 

Bowen said people have questioned why the Clean Label Project did not release raw data or have the study peer reviewed. She said both of those things are in process.

"On the Clean Label project website you can find our raw data and how we unmasked nearly 75,000 data points for parents," Bowen said. "We wanted to make it quick and easy, so we pulled that down and drilled it down to a five star rating system."

However, Gawenis said the five star system doesn't give parents a clear explanation on the organization's findings. 

"They just have this star system that doesn't tell you what it means, especially on the baby formula," Gawenis said.

The Analytic Chemistry Lab, Ellipse Analytics conducted the organization's study. On the website the study sample is shown only once, meaning there are not multiple tests on samples shown. 

Gawenis said parents should be cautious of that. He said the organization is also using words such as: "nutritional value" and "contaminant", but not defining the meaning of those words.

"If you're not willing to make those definitions all they are doing is creating a scare tactic to get you to buy certain things over the other," Gawenis said. "That's a sales gimmick."

Willy said she plans to stick to breastfeeding. She said she doesn't judge anyone who doesn't breastfeeds and understands if baby food items are their only option.

"If I had to I would," Willy said. "It would be nice if they were making a little more clear labels for parents."

Bowen said the Clean Label Project has five different funding sources which are grants, donations, a certification program that it offers to manufacturers, a crowd-funding campaign and an Amazon smiles beneficiary.

Gawenis said he hopes the organization did the study for the right reasons. 

"It's good they're trying to do something good," Gawenis said. "But if they're not willing to give out what the actual demarcation lines are, it's useless information." 

If you are a parent who is concerned with your baby's food intake contact the FDA, which has safe and quality food requirements. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - One year ago, President Donald Trump was sworn into office, and on Saturday, supporters held a rally... More >>
16 minutes ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:00:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - A CNN report that the FBI has opened an inquiry into Gov. Eric Greitens "would not be... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 4:05:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A Jefferson City woman is encouraging people to lock their car doors after she caught a thief... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Members of the community met, adopted and played with cats at kittens Saturday at a Columbia pet store.... More >>
2 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 2:52:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said there was no blackmail or threatened violence in an extramarital... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 1:09:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police have made an arrest in a double shooting that left a 46-year-old... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:49:41 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
SEDALIA - The Pettis County prosecutor has issued a warrant for the arrest of a man in connection to the... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 12:33:00 PM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Coyote sightings are becoming more frequent in the St. Louis area, and some are strolling down... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 10:37:36 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The number of confirmed cases of chronic wasting disease in Missouri deer is up, but... More >>
6 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 10:26:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
RICHMOND, Va. - The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public's help with identifying a serial robber called... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 9:59:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
CHARITON COUNTY -- Alonzo Bernard Thorpe of Clark, Missouri was found guilty of eight counts of child molestation and two... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 7:38:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the final moments leading up to Friday's midnight deadline, Senate Republicans and Democrats were unable to... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, January 20 2018 Jan 20, 2018 Saturday, January 20, 2018 5:00:00 AM CST January 20, 2018 in News
(CNN) - The FBI recently opened an inquiry into Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, two US officials told CNN, as he... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 9:19:05 PM CST January 19, 2018 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A visiting MU researcher is working to fight cancer with blueberries - specifically the extract of the fruit.... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 8:06:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some facilities in the state may be required to hang posters with information about human trafficking by the... More >>
22 hours ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 6:43:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri offered Amazon nearly $2.5 billion in incentives over 10 years in a bid to... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 5:25:09 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Show-Me State Games will be hosting its last MFA Oil - Break Time Shootout on Saturday. It is... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 4:26:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Researchers at the University of Missouri have found that 80 percent of state students who needed treatment for... More >>
1 day ago Friday, January 19 2018 Jan 19, 2018 Friday, January 19, 2018 4:09:00 PM CST January 19, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 53°
6pm 45°
7pm 49°
8pm 47°
9pm 46°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00p
Jeopardy!
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
5:00p
Sheriffs El Dorado County
5:30p
Sheriffs El Dorado County
6:00p
The Cleveland Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Will & Grace
7:30p
Superstore
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Saturday Night Live
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld