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ConsumerLab Finds Lead Contamination In Some Mineral Supplements
White Plains NY, 16 July 2002

ConsumerLab.com announced today that its testing has shown that approximately 5% to 10% of certain mineral supplements are contaminated with lead. The findings are based on ConsumerLab.com's evaluation over the past nine months of fifty-six supplements containing iron, magnesium, or potassium. More than eleven million bottles of these mineral supplements are purchased annually from US supermarkets, drugstores, and mass merchandisers, according to data from Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. ConsumerLab.com called on manufacturers to focus on this problem, which it considers an easily avoided health risk.

"Mineral supplements can be lifesaving, but should not increase the risk of lead poisoning," said Tod Cooperman, MD, President of ConsumerLab.com. "Lead contamination has long been an issue with mineral supplements. We were pleased two years ago to find that none of the calcium supplements we tested had unacceptable lead levels. However, more recently, we have been disturbed to find lead contamination not only among potassium supplements, as reported today, but also in magnesium (reported in May) and iron supplements (reported last October). Manufacturers must focus on getting the lead out of all supplements -- which can easily be done."

In its Product Review of Potassium Supplements released today, ConsumerLab.com found lead contamination in one of the eighteen products tested. If used to treat potassium deficiency, a daily dose of the contaminated product would contain about 10 to 20 mcg (micrograms) of lead. It is estimated that average total daily lead exposure in the US is less than 5 mcg per day. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous for fetuses, infants, young children, and pregnant or lactating women, whose consumption of lead should not exceed 6 mcg per day because lead can be transferred from mother to child and even low levels of lead can adversely affect children's neurobehavioral development and cognitive function. In adults, lead at somewhat higher levels can cause elevated blood pressure, anemia, and adversely affect the nervous and reproductive systems.

As previously reported by ConsumerLab.com, one of nineteen iron supplements and two of nineteen magnesium supplements were found contaminated with lead. Other problems, such as too little or too much mineral, were also found among some products.

The full list of products that passed ConsumerLab.com's testing, as well as information on buying and using these products, are now available at www.consumerlab.com. The website provides reviews of 32 vitamins, minerals, herbal and non-herbal supplements, and of nutrition bars, powders, and drinks. Other reviews scheduled for release in coming months include Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from evening primrose, borage and flaxseed oils, garlic, probiotics, and sexual enhancement supplements. ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying the Best Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements is scheduled for publication later this year.

ConsumerLab.com provides consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Individual subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online.


ConsumerLab.com, via PR Newswire, 16 July 2002.end-of-story



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