Lead in Children’s Vitamins!?

Where does it end?

Apparently in my back to school flurry of activity I failed to notice the media and blog posts about an FDA finding of lead in children’s and prenatal vitamins. They tested 324 vitamins, and only 4 were found not to contain lead.

Unbelievable. My jaw hit the floor.

The very thing we are testing our toys for, avoiding plastic made goods for, that has been in my children’s bibs and on their doors, is in a supplement I give them everyday.

When I read this, I threw the bottle of Yummi Bears across the room. And that is not normal for me. I know the report says the amount of lead they contain is only trace amounts. I don’t care. There is lead in something I was giving my daughters because I thought it was good for them. And I know there is no safe level of lead exposure, just like tobacco.

How can this be so?

The FDA charts linked above are hard to read and understand but the message is there. Look to see if the vitamin you give your child is on the list, and if they contain lead.

These were 3 of the children’s vitamins that contained no lead, according to the FDA:

Natrol Liquid Kids Companion (Liquid)
NF Formulas Liquid Pediatric (Liquid)
Twinlab Infant Care (Liquid)

Here are the lists of vitamins for children with the most and the least lead (Although I am not comforted by the idea of the “least lead.” How about none?), compiled by Treehugger from the FDA data:

“Top 10 children’s vitamins with the least lead (0-6 years)
1. Twinlab Infant Care
2. Natrol Liquid Kids Companion
3. NF Formulas Liquid Pediatric
4. Windmill Bite-A-Mins
5. Kids Liquid Dolphin Pals
6. My First Flintstones
7. Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins Plus Extra C
8. Uno Diario Ninos
9. Flintstones Plus Immunity Support
10. Natural Wealth Children’s Chewable Multivitamins

Top 10 children’s vitamins with the most lead (0-6 years)
1. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Shake
2. Superior Multi Age
3. Nutraceutical Pedia Power
4. Physio Kids Multilogics Chewable
5. Ola Loa Kids
6. Nature’s Plus Animal Parade
7. Vita-Big-Kids
8. Wonder Laboratories Formula Nineteen
9. Clinicians Choice Chewable Daily Multivitamins
10. Dynamic Health Multi for Children

It is important to note that the FDA does not consider these vitamins to be unsafe because of the trace lead amounts (although I do not find this comforting). There is also naturally (and pollution based) lead in our food and soil, in some cases much more than is present in these vitamins. My point is that multiple exposures can add up and be damaging, and this one is avoidable.

I emailed Hero, the company that makes Yummi Bears about the lead in their vitamins. I can’t imagine what they will have to say about it, but I will post the results here.

I also give my daughters Nordic Natural’s Children’s DHA. I noticed they say right on the label, “All Nordic Naturals fish oils surpass all pharmaceutical standards for freshness and purity. Every batch is third-party tested, showing no detected levels of heavy metals, dioxins, or PCBS.”

Nordic Naturals also makes the Nordic Berries multivitamin I had been giving my girls. They are twice as expensive as the Yummi Bears and that is why I switched. I will contact them as well and see if the testing they do for their fish oil products is also used for the multi-vitamin.

Not only is this an outrage, but how about the prenatal vitamins that I took all during both pregnancies and afterward? And one of my favorite companies, New Chapter Organics, is listed by the FDA for their prenatal vitamin containing lead.

And don’t think that just because a vitamin is not listed, it doesn’t contain lead. They didn’t test all vitamins on the market. In light of this, there should be some sort of lead free certification that vitamin makers have to go through before products are on the stores shelves. This is not rocket science. Why isn’t it happening?

Readers, what are you doing about this issue? Are you giving your children a multi-vitamin? Did you know about this, or do you have a brand you researched and feel confident about?

I feel defeated about this issue. It truly seems like we are on our own to protect our kids, and the battle never ends.

Thanks to Nicole who tipped me off on this issue.

20 Responses to Lead in Children’s Vitamins!?

  1. Colleen D. January 11, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    I heard about lead in children's vitamins and prenatal vitamins a few months ago. I was disappointed that my prenatal rainbow light vitamins were on the list. I have now switched over to Shaklee vitamins for myself and my children. Here is a link to another blog's recent post about vitamins.http://www.naturemoms.com/blog/2009/01/09/the-abcs-of-supplements/

  2. Jen January 12, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    This is so frustrating…but, thank you for the info. We don't give our son vitamins. He's generally a good eater…fruits, veggies, meat, grains, dairy…and since we feel he eats well we haven't really thought he needed vitamins.However, I DO take prenatal vitamins because I'm "of childbearing age" and we're not finished having children. I take a prescriptive prenatal and I'm now wondering how much lead it contains because It's not on the list of tested vitamins. Any suggestions regarding how I might be able to find that out?

  3. Mrs. Lindblom January 12, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    I e-mailed Bayer about their Flintstones vitamins (which my 2 year old son takes). Thanks for the post.

  4. Katy January 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks for your comments. I'm afraid I don't know about prescription pre-natals. I would assume it is the same situation. But the folic acid is so important– I would think more so than the trace amounts of lead. This is a good question for your doctor- although I would bet he or she might not know about it. I wish I could be more helpful.Mrs. Lindblom, Please let me know if you hear from Bayer. Thanks, ladies!

  5. Jen January 13, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    Just thought of another question for you…have you any idea WHY lead is added to vitamins? I understand your point regarding it being unavoidable in some foods/soil, but why add it to vitamins?

  6. Katy January 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    Hi Jen,Thanks for your comment. I'm guessing it is because some of the ingredients are imported from China (my mother who works in a pharmacy tells me about imported ingredients being more dangerous- lke melamine in formula), or that it is in some of the ingredients they are using without them knowing (or testing for it). But these are mere spectulations on my part- I do want to know more. Thanks for the question!

  7. shelley January 13, 2009 at 11:25 pm #

    i read about the vitamin issue over at tree hugger awhile back. I have to say it did sway me from buying vitamins again. I had been giving my daughter Carlson for Kids vitamins. I do give both my daughters. Hero's Omega 3 6 9 supplement and hope they are safe. I oldest daughter had .8 in her blood and wen to a full 1. My Pedi said results can change from test to test and she doesn't necessarily have more lead in her blood, but I wondered about the vitamin issue. I wonder if it is hard to avoid 'trace amounts' because if we want MINERALS they are of the earth just as lead is. maybe we can't have one without the other. although, there were some brands listed as lead-free. maybe the machines are old and are leaching lead in the manufacturing process.i was considering Dr. Green's new line, and e-mailed them, but didn't find it comforting enough to go and buy. seems like just a standard safety reply.i look forward to Hero's reply to you.

  8. Anonymous January 20, 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Ladies, Please take the time to actually read the results of the FDA finding… ALL REAL food contains trace amounts of lead it is a naturally occuring trace mineral. The only way to make a supplement that does not contain lead is for it to be synthetic, which is man made and not natural, which really means your or your child's body will not process a synthetic at least not easily causing more extra exertion on the body's system. If you read the introduction to the test findings you would realize that the FDA is stating that all of the supplements were far below alarming rates. The RDA of lead is 6 micrograms, all of the supplements tested below 0.9, please take the time to process this information and for further information you can also visit the following site:http://www.michaelmooney.net/Lead_In_Vitamins.pdfWanting the best always for everyone, health and wellness!

  9. Anonymous August 20, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

    Dear Anonymous,How about you do some calculations before you patronize us as "Ladies, Please…"According to the link which you provided a 4 ounce serving of raisin bran cereal contains 4.1 mcg of lead, that's roughly 30 times less per kilogram than some of the vitamins being sold to our kids.So anonymous, please, you feed your kids this crap and we will find supplements that have no lead in them.And that's just lead alone, I don't even want to list other toxins that are present in some of the vitamins. Megan R.

  10. Anonymous February 3, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    All,I know that this is several months later but I wanted to find out if you all had the opportunity to follow-up with the companies you talked about:Did Nordic Naturals confirm that there was no lead in their children's multi-vitamins?How about Shaklee's?Thank you for the guidance.Mb

  11. Anonymous February 15, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    This is the response I received about the Nordic Berries….sounds like a winner to me!Thank you for your interest in Nordic Naturals. The Nordic Berries show notraces of lead. When tested for Mercury and lead, tested at less than0.01ppm (or 0.01 mcg/g).Free of the following:· Corn· Casein· Soy· No alcohol · No Lead · No MSG· Gluten/Dairy free· No Niacin· No Sulfites Made and bottled in the U.S. The Nordic Berries go through a totally different process than our fishoil, because there is no fish oil found in Nordic Berries. Hope thisinformation helps, please let us know if you have any further questions orconcerns.Regards, Dan OlsonCustomer Service RepresentativeNordic Naturals94 Hangar WayWatsonville, CA 95076PH:800-662-2544 ext. 108dolson@nordicnaturals.com

  12. Katy Farber February 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Hi Anonymous, Thanks for posting that! I never did hear back from them about that. I do still give my girls vitamin D, and omegas. I don't give them a multi unless it has been a really bad few days of food. Thanks for all the comments! Here's a good article about vitamins and kids: http://www.drgreene.com/qa/vitamins-and-children?…

  13. Shawna February 23, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    Lead isn't the only culprit. Consumers need to be educated in not only in looking through the active ingredient list, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, the non-medicinals!! In the prenatal i took (3 times) there are MORE non-medicinals then actives (many of which have been linked to cancer, including: BHT, FD&C red dye, Titanium Dioxide, Triethyl citrate)!!!

  14. moyra March 7, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Please let me know if you hear from the companies you contacted. I will follow you. We all take Shaklee vitamins over here. Their quality standards are SO high and we rest assured that they woudl never put out a contaminated product. They pull things from the market if they get a tainteed raw ingredient…then they search to find something pure. ThanksMoyra

  15. Angel August 23, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    As the original post states towards the end, 'truly seems like we are on our own to protect our kids'sadly we are and this extends towards ourselves too. I once read that the increase of the population has upset the major governments to the point of action. I never believed this but as I look up in the sky, as no body else cares to, and see these heavy metals remain in the air from the discharge of military planes every single morning and the smog that covers our beautiful sky, I say now possibly so.`Good luck but just plain staying alive is a conscious act today.

  16. Anonymous November 10, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Shaklee is the best you can give your family. Their vitamins are made from real food, if your baby ate the whole bottle, they would not die, I can't say that for any other vitamin that contains man made materials. Do your own research and depend on yourself for your safety and nutrition.

  17. Organic Multivitamin June 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this blog.Such a valuable and informative blog.

  18. Jonathan Pfeiffer November 17, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Lead is found almost everywhere on earth. It is found in the air, in foods, in lakes, rivers and seawater,and especially soils.Alot of naatural healthy foods contain up to 5 to 10 times more lead thanthe multivitamins in FDA’s report. When all is considered, multivitamins are once again confirmed tobe among the safest things you can put in your mouth

  19. Anonymous February 16, 2013 at 8:19 am #

    Love all the positive Shaklee comments. My family has been Shaklee ” lifers” since 1971. My daughter is 4th generation Shaklee. I trust them with my health because their standards go above & beyond anything else out there. There are TONS of reasons why they are the #1 Natural Nutrition company.

  20. Raven November 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    I found this post looking for the best brand of vitamin to put in formula. Importantly, I need to know whether these vitamins have enough of (as well as not too much of) the amount a baby is supposed to get, but they are all designed as supplements not as the main source, so should I use a double dose? What brands have good values and amounts of all the vitamins and minerals when they are being used as part of the formula recipe?

    The reason they contain lead, most likely, is due to the methods that the synthetic companies use to tear up the plant. They soak the plants in toxic chemicals and that is how they separate one compound from another. These are not “ingredients” because the solvent is discarded – but leaves a residue of the solvent and/or some toxin that is in the solvent.

    MegaFood is another company that is like Shaklee sounds.

    But… is it bad to give an infant a vitamin made out of Whole Foods, since thy can’t eat food?

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