This is something you need to know. I realize that they say it’s not dangerous, that the levels in each vitamin is small, but lead builds up in your system over time. Your body does not dispose of it and it ends up in your brain and other muscle tissues. We freak out when it’s in paint or children’s toys, but can you imagine you and your kids taking it in small doses every single day.. and thinking your doing your body right at the same time? This is the ultimate betrayal.

I’m a little behind the eight ball on this one, it seems they made this discovery about a year ago and somehow I missed it. But in survey data released by the FDA in August 2008, of the 324 multivitamin-mineral products available over the internet tested, only FOUR vitamins failed to show the presence of lead. All others contained trace amounts which, as I already said, the FDA does not consider dangerous. I must repeat, however, that lead is a heavy metal that builds up in our systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to prevent lead exposure to children by identifying, controlling and removing hazards safely.

Here are the hardcore facts: lead is known to cause permanent brain damage, lower IQ, and is linked to a number of problems around learning and behavior, as well as other aspects of development. Especially vulnerable to lead exposure are fetuses and children under the age of 6. And I am sure you think it’s a good idea to give your growing babies a dose of extra vitamins, right? Well, I don’t think so!

FYI: to determine if you or your child has an elevated lead level, you will need to get their blood tested. However, the blood test is not definitive; according to the CDC, most kids with elevated blood lead levels have no symptoms. The best cure is preventing exposure! So now the next consideration should be, is it worth it to give my kids chewy colorful vitamins to “help them grow” when they are dosed with even small amounts of lead? Would you have your kid chew a lead toy every day if you thought it might make his teeth stronger? What is the trade off here?

You need more information on this problem and the CDC has it. They have information on Childhood Lead Exposure and a complete list of vitamins and the results of the FDA Survey. This is both on their website through a mail or email request. But I am going to give you a break and quote the results of the survey here for your reading pleasure… or pain! So, here it is, complete from the site and the general info sheets they distribute:

“Survey Data on Lead in Women’s and Children’s Vitamins”

“In early 2007, FDA became aware of reports of elevated lead levels in certain vitamins, which became an issue of concern to FDA, Congress, and the public. This survey was conducted to determine the content of lead (Pb) in vitamins labeled for women and children. The Pb content of 324 multivitamin-mineral products purchased over the Internet was determined using microwave assisted nitric acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.1 Cryogenic grinding was used to composite soft samples such as oil filled capsules and candy-like products such as gummies and jelly beans. The median and maximum mass fractions were 0.160 and 2.40 mg/kg, respectively. Only four samples exceeded 1 mg/kg.”

“Estimates of Pb exposures from consumption of products were derived by multiplying the maximum recommended daily serving provided by the label instructions by the Pb mass fractions (i.e., concentrations) determined in this study. The overall median value for Pb exposure was 0.576 µg/day. Five samples would have provided exposures that exceeded 4 µg/day, the highest being 8.97 µg/day. The highest exposure estimate for children’s vitamins was 2.88 µg/day. Estimates of exposures were assessed with respect to safe/tolerable exposure levels that have been developed for particular age and sex groups. These safe/tolerable exposure levels are referred to as the provisional total tolerable intake levels (PTTI)2.”

“Estimates of Pb exposures for all products were below the PTTI levels for the at-risk population groups of children, pregnant and lactating women and adult women. Table 1 lists the PTTI levels and summarizes results for mass fraction and estimated exposure by population group. Median and maximum values were used instead of mean and standard deviation due to the skewed distribution of results toward lower mass fraction and exposure as seen in Figures 1 and 2. Table 2 provides a complete listing of Pb mass fractions and estimated Pb exposure values for the samples.”

These are their words, word for word, and not mine. I only know what they are telling me. If you want even more information, then you can see the entire table of vitamins that were tested and their individual lead content here: PBVitamin Study

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