Much like melamine involved in formula recalls, other chemicals have been discovered in baby formula distributed in the United States.
In April 2009, researchers from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention released evidence that perchlorate – a component of rocket fuel harmful to infant brain development and thyroid function – is in fifteen well-known brands of formula. The rocket fuel was found in every type of formula, including cow-milk based formula with lactose, lactose-free cow-milk based formula, and soy-based formula. 1
As if perchlorate’s presence in formula wasn’t bad enough, the problem is compounded, because perchlorate is found in drinking water in at least twenty-eight states. Perchlorate began contaminating water supplies after rocket and missile tests were conducted during the Cold War. Since parents usually mix formula with tap water, mixing the contaminated formula with contaminated tap water propels perchlorate levels into unsafe standards set by the EPA. 2
Another toxin present in infant formula is BPA (Bisphenol A). Not only does BPA leach into all liquid formula, but it also leaches from metal can linings into powdered formulas. 3 The BPA is part of plastic epoxy resins used to line metal food cans – both for liquid and powdered formulas. 4 Other cans of powdered formula don’t contain epoxy, but the cans’ metal comes in direct contact with the formula, which is another danger. 5
Exposure to BPA is serious because of the harmful effects, including:
- Abnormalities in brain and liver function;
- Altered behavior of more than 200 genes;
- Birth defects to the male and female reproductive systems, including permanent changes to the genital tract, damage to eggs, increased anogenital distance in both sexes, sperm reduction, and early sexual maturity;
- Breast cells that are pre-disposed to cancer and changes in mammary gland tissue;
- Cardiovascular disease;
- Change to infants’ behavior and brains (According to watchdog organization the Environmental Working Group, BPA “affects the developing brain and reproductive systems of animals exposed to low doses during pregnancy and early life”);
- Chromosome damage;
- Disrupted endocrine system;
- Interrupted cell function in fetuses, infants, and children;
- Mood disorders;
- Prostate cells that are more sensitive to cancer and increased prostate weight. 6
Until 2009, infants were exposed to BPA through both infant formula and baby bottles. Baby bottles were manufactured with BPA, so formula-fed infants were given a double dose of the toxin with each feeding. Pair that with the rocket fuel commonly found in infant formula and tap water, and it’s no wonder there are increasing health problems with today’s children.What can parents do?
If formula feeding is your family’s choice, you’re probably wondering what the safest formula options are. Try a milk-based formula to avoid soy’s effects, and to avoid as much BPA as possible, do not use a liquid formula. You also can help reduce exposure to toxins in plastics by using glass bottles.