The New Fad is...

Products tested for toxins

The New Fad is. Healthy Living Magazine

The New Fad is. Healthy Living Magazine

We take dietary supplements for a lot of different reasons. But to accumulate high lead levels in our bodies is not one of them. However that is what researchers found among 12,807 men and women age 20 and older. The study was done by Dr Catherine Buettner, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

She and her colleagues examined herbal supplement use among women of reproductive age (age 16 to 45 years old) and “the relationship with lead levels was even stronger, with lead levels 20 percent higher overall, and up to 40 percent higher among users of select herbal supplements compared to non-users.”

The Buettner team found that women using Ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine herbs had lead levels 24% higher and users of St. John’s wort and other herbs had lead levels 23% and 21% percent higher, respectively.

When combined with prior studies hinting at excess lead in specific supplements, the evidence strongly suggests use of specific herbal supplements may result in higher lead levels among women, Buettner said.

Fetal Threat

Women using herbal supplements had lead levels 10-24% higher than non-users, says the study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Even small amount of lead in blood of a woman of childbearing age may cause loss of IQ in offspring. Lead accumulates not only in blood, but in bones and may result in hypertension, infertility, abnormal behavior, violence and cancer.

Read: Fetus Can Learn To Speak

Lead is particularly toxic to the developing fetus; yet, among reproductive-aged women (16–45 years) lead levels were more than 20% higher in supplement than non-supplement users.

No Enforcement Policy

The US Food and Drug Administration does not specify safe lead limits or routinely test products for levels of this toxin in herbal supplements. State enforcement is almost nonexistent.

One state, however, has taken on the supplement industry with the implementation in 1986 of the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act that allows the establishment of enforceable limits of exposure in consumer products based on cancer and reproductive effects.

This act, also known as Proposition 65, makes the free marketplace work better with the antiseptic of daylight. Companies often are well aware their products contain impurities and contaminants but do not disclose these on their labels. Only through the work of testing labs are these deceits discovered.

The act, passed by the people of California, requires companies who choose to profit from products with chemical toxins, to inform consumers with a warning on the product label or online product page or other methods. There are a lot of problems right now with the implementation of Proposition 65, including way too many general warnings but it is the strictest enforcement act in the world for consumers and it has led to market innovation and product creation and healthier people.

Read: 10 Low-Toxin Diet Rules

Because California is the sixth largest economy in the world, the state can set world standards—manufacturers often reformulate their products for safety both for California and the rest of the planet when they discover the safe choice is usually the most economic too.

How to find tested products

HealthyLiving Foundation independently and incognito tests and evaluates thousands of products annually to give shoppers the information about lead, cadmium, pesticides dioxane and many other lethal toxins. Look for products with the HealthyLiving Seal on the label. Those are the only products on the market independently lab-tested and rigorously analyzed by a consumer advocate organization—the HealthyLiving Foundation. A HealthyLiving seal is more reassuring than the USDA certified organic or Environmental Protection Agency safe product seals. It is more reassuring than non-GMO seals for a simple reason—none of those organizations lab-test and analyze actual products in the retail marketplace.

Independent from and unknown by the company, HealthyLiving Foundation independently purchases and tests products for chemical toxins such as arsenic, cadmium and lead and then notifies the company of its product’s tests and passage only after test results are analyzed using standards of the California law.

The seal assures retailers and shoppers the product is free from harmful amounts of chemical toxins known to the state of California to cause cancer or reproductive effects. About one-third of products tested among supplements are in violation. This is often due to sourcing of raw materials and putting costs above consumer health. Any company or consumer can submit products for testing to HLF.

“We believe the HealthyLiving testing program meets both the needs of our customers and retailers for independent verification of the safety and purity of our ingredients,” says Justin Farmar, CEO of Natural Vitality, whose company was notified that its products recently passed testing with flying colors. “It’s a fair program because the foundation acts just like a consumer but actually tests the products independently of the company.”

Read: Chinese Medicine Magic

About the HealthyLiving Foundation

The HealthyLiving Foundation is the 501C(3) nonprofit charity that publishes HealthyLiving Magazine, the national publication on consumer health. Chemical Toxin Working Group is the testing arm of the nonprofit. CTWG independently purchases and tests food and consumer products for chemical toxins, notifying manufacturers and the public of the products’ results.

In 2015 alone HLF/CTWG reached the biggest legal settlements in the industry with such violators as Kroger, Walmart, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, Crown Prince and others. As a result, violators removed toxic products from sale, reformulated them or put warnings of their labels about contaminants that cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Test results are analyzed using standards of the California’s Proposition 65 by accredited and recognized-by-courts independent laboratories.

For more up-to-the-minute information visit HealthyLivingFoundation.US and get instant updates via Twitter (@USHealthyLivinG) and Facebook (

About Natural Vitality

Natural Vitality is an international dietary supplement company known for Natural Calm®, The Anti-Stress Drink. The company also publishes Organic Connections, an online journal and has begun the Calm Earth Project, an environmental action initiative. For more info, visit

Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH, Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA, Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Roger B. Davis, ScD, Russell S. Phillips, MD, and Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH Herbal Supplement Use and Blood Lead Levels of United States Adults J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov; 24(11): 1175–1182. Published online 2009 Jul 3. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1050-5 PMCID: PMC2771230
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