metals

Some natural products companies now engaging in consumer fraud over heavy metals found in their products

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: heavy metals, dietary supplements, food science

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Delicious
(NaturalNews) Perhaps I shouldn't be so easily amused, but I can hardly stop laughing at the theatrical attempts by some people in the natural products industry to convince their customers that eating heavy metals is good for you. Granted, most companies in the natural health space are very ethical and responsible. They are becoming more and more aware of the heavy metals issue in their products and they are taking steps right now to source cleaner materials and provide more transparency to customers. But some companies are still in a state of total denial over heavy metals. In the aftermath of my own science-based findings of significant concentrations of heavy metals in popular "superfood" products, some of these companies are now attempting to push sheer delusions onto their own customers, claiming that heavy metals are good for you.

It all sounds almost exactly like vaccine companies -- "Mercury in flu shots improves brain performance!" -- or biotech firms like Monsanto who say "GMOs and glyphosate are harmless! Eat more!"

And yet, as I'm sure you will agree, the strange idea that heavy metals are safe to eat (apparently at any dose) is wholly inconsistent with the core principles and beliefs of health-conscious consumers. The very basis of the entire organic industry, natural products industry and superfoods industry is that it DOES matter what you eat!

Pseudoscience excuses

What we're really finding is that the issue of heavy metals is rapidly separating genuine health-conscious industry leaders from the hucksters who hope you can be manipulated into eating more of their products that contain lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.

They've got all sorts of bizarre, pseudoscientific arguments for denying the harm of heavy metals. One person whose products contain heavy metals is now publicly claiming that heavy metals are trace minerals that your body needs. I'm even wondering if he will soon come out with a "Heavy Metals Vitamin" product so you can meet your daily requirement for lead and mercury. It starts to sound a lot like the "energy-boosting radiation pills" sold by charlatans in the early 20th century.

Another argument organized by one particular industry group claims that you can eat all the heavy metals you want because your body doesn't absorb them anyway. Somehow, your body absorbs iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium and copper, but according to these people, your body magically and selectively does not absorb all the "bad metals" which are found in their own products.

By what digestive miracle such selective absorption takes place is never explained, of course. Perhaps selective absorption is invoked with a magic wand waved over the contaminated food before consuming it.

How can concentration not matter?

Another central argument from the heavy metals deniers is that concentrations don't matter. If 50 ppb of a heavy metal is considered safe, then 500 ppb or even 5,000 ppb must also be safe too, they ridiculously argue.

Such a position is, of course, complete nonsense. Concentration is the single most important factor in determining toxicity for an element or chemical. The higher the concentration of a toxic element, the greater the risk of harm.

This is especially true considering the massive quantities of superfoods or natural products which are regularly consumed by millions of consumers. In the popular category of proteins, a typical one-scoop serving is 23 grams. Some readers told us on Facebook that they would eat six scoops a day. If the protein they are eating happens to contain just 2 ppm cadmium, 0.5 ppm lead and 10 ppm tungsten, this means their daily intake of these metals is:

• 276 micrograms of cadmium
• 69 micrograms of lead
• 1,380 micrograms of tungsten

To argue that the routine consumption of these levels of heavy metals has no health consequence whatsoever is beyond irresponsible. It is fraudulent, and it smacks of precisely the kind of quackery the scientific skeptics routinely accuse natural products companies of practicing.

In part, they are actually correct. There is unfortunately some level of fraud in the natural products industry just like you find in the pharmaceutical industry, vaccine industry and the dog food industry. At the same time, there are also ethical, responsible companies who go to tremendous lengths to ensure the purity and safety of their products. In fact, I've gone out of my way to publicize the really clean products we've tested such as One World Whey proteins from Synergistic Nutrition as well as all the incredibly clean iodine products across many brands.

So the argument that heavy metals don't matter in natural products is immediately devoid of any ethical or scientific standing. Of course heavy metals matter. If Brand A of chocolate chips contains 1000 ppb lead, while Brand B chocolate chips contain no lead (but are otherwise equivalent), which brand is safer for your children to consume on a regular basis? The obvious and correct answer is Brand B. Reducing exposure to dietary toxins is always the right choice. And personally, I would really question the ethics and even the scientific grasp of anyone who argues that reducing exposure to dietary toxins doesn't matter in the least.

Bizarre, illogical arguments

The arguments of these heavy metals deniers have no basis in rational thought, either. One person argued that heavy metals are harmless by claiming that calcium and iron are heavy metals, too, in a vague sense based on the periodic table of elements. But that argument makes no sense from a health perspective. Calcium is obviously not lead, or else they wouldn't have different atomic weights and different names. The tactic of trying to blur the lines between the wildly different toxicities of selected elements by claiming they are all "heavy metals" is little more than parlor trick quackery and deliberate obfuscation published with the malicious intent of misleading consumers.

Some people are even arguing that eating lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury in trace amounts is "essential" to your health in some way. "Far from being toxic, at low trace levels, many heavy metals are essential," writes one heavy metals denier who sells natural detox products. One of his own products, by the way, was designed to remove the very same heavy metals he now claims are good for you.

The claim that toxic elements are "essential" in trace amounts is utterly false, of course. There is no essential biological or nutritive requirement for lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury or even tungsten. These elements -- and many others -- offer only toxicity, not nutrition. And the more you consume of them, the worse the risk of organ damage becomes. There is no "beneficial" dose of mercury for almost exactly the same reason that there is no beneficial dose of glyphosate or pesticides.

What these heavy metals deniers are doing, of course, is desperately trying to protect the profits they earn from selling products contaminated with heavy metals. It's the dirty little secret of the natural products industry: much of what is marketed as pristine, organic, high-vibration food and superfood is actually grown in heavily contaminated regions of the world. It's imported into the USA, packaged in fancy-looking canisters and boxes, then sold to all-too-trusting customers who are later shocked to discover that these products contain toxic elements in concerning concentrations (especially when consumed repeatedly, day after day, for a period of many years).

If they blow off heavy metals, what else might their products contain that could harm you?

My advice is that we all stop buying products from companies that blow off the heavy metals issue. After all, if they claim heavy metals are not a health concern -- at any concentration -- then what else might they also be hiding in their products that could be harmful?

In response to the heavy metals issue, a responsible company would say, "Although we believe our products are already safe, we are listening to our customers and working to source materials with even lower concentrations of lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, tungsten and other heavy metals."

An irresponsible -- even dangerous -- company, on the other hand, essentially says, "Heavy metals? Who cares! They're fine! Eat more!" And with that, you really have to wonder what else they're blowing off in terms of product safety and quality control.

After all, someone who thinks eating lead is perfectly safe for their customers might also think that "a little GMO" is just fine, too. Or perhaps some pesticide residues. How about a little BPA? Or fluoride? Or even some synthetic hormones! Using the same logic they have already invoked, they could argue that "a little pesticide does the body good" and therefore you shouldn't be concerned about eating it.

Don't be suckered by charlatans

The bottom line truth on all this -- and this might come as a total shock to hear me say this -- is that just like in any other industry, there are quacks, charlatans and con artists in the natural products industry, too. Fortunately, they are few in number, but they do exist. And when confronted with scientific facts about the elemental composition of their products, they immediately leap to desperate strategies like attacking Natural News instead of just cleaning up their products and responding to their own customers' desire for clean products.

There are profits to protect, after all. And if they can phrase their denials in some impressive-sounding pseudoscientific jargon, some people might actually buy it.

But don't you be suckered by it. Always seek to reduce your dietary exposure to heavy metals.

Use our Forensic Food Labs to check on heavy metals levels for products you consume

Fortunately, we are working on your behalf to make that easier to accomplish. The Natural News Forensic Food Lab is publishing laboratory test results every week, and the results are available for free.

Far beyond merely pointing out products with high levels of heavy metals, we also show which products are remarkably clean of heavy metals, too. For example, just yesterday we published the results of our laboratory testing of popular brands of nascent iodine.

We've also highlighted the incredible cleanliness of a popular brand of whey protein, which showed the lowest heavy metals we've ever seen in any proteins tested so far.

Our goal with the Natural News Forensic Food Lab is to empower consumers with enhanced knowledge about what's in their foods, superfoods and dietary supplements. This goal is a noble one pursued in the interests of public safety, and we will not be deterred by the truly pathetic attacks and quack science denials from companies who are only destroying their own credibility by claiming that the heavy metals in their products don't matter.

Get real. Or get lost.

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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.

In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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