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Powdered Baby Formula Contaminated with Rocket Fuel

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As if parents don’t already have enough to worry about with the presence of BPA in baby bottles and whether their children’s toys are safe, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is now reporting chemicals used in rocket fuel have been found in powered baby formula. The study, which was published last month, but only brought to light yesterday by the Environmental Working Group, examined different brands of powered baby formulas for the chemical, perchlorate. Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and manmade chemical, but most perchlorate in the United States is used as an ingredient in rocket and missel fuel. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, perchlorate has also been found in public drinking supplies and has since considered setting new limits on what is considered safe. The major concern is mixing powered formula containing perchlorate with drinking water, also containing the chemical, which could boost the level of perchlorate and exceed safety levels.

Researchers won’t reveal the fifteen formula brands they studied, but are reporting that those formulas derived from cow’s milk contain the largest amounts of the chemical. In fact, the two most contaminated brands accounted for 87% of the U.S. market for powered formula in 2000. Although the study did not focus on the health effects of perchlorate, scientists have reported large amounts could affect thyroid function which can impact fetal and infant brain development. According to the Associated Press, the extent of the risk is hard to assess because "the government requires that formulas contain iodine which counteracts perchlorate’s effects."

This is just another thing to add to the long list of worries for parents. So what can be done to ease these worries? One thing you can do is to check your local water supply for perchlorate and other chemicals, which can be done on the Environmental Working Group’s website. Another avenue is to contact your legislator or senator to push for higher safety standards for chemicals, or contact the EPA.