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How Safe Are Infant Formulas?

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Over the years, countless studies have shown that when it comes to infant nutrition, breast milk is best. This remains true, as there is simply no infant formula product on the market that can match the superior nutrition of mother's milk. In addition, some formulas contain ingredients that can be harmful to your baby.

Although some formula recipes have improved over time for mothers who must rely on formula to feed their new baby, many products are full with unhealthy and even harmful ingredients, making breastfeeding the best way to go for new mothers who have the option.

The FDA recently announced that they will allow the chemical Melamine in Baby Formulas a month after they announced it was not safe. The FDA found trace amounts of the chemical Melamine (which has caused havoc in Asia sickening and killing pets and children) in 2 products: Nestlé's Good Start Supreme Infant formula with iron, and traces of cyanuric acid in Infamil Formula Powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron from Mead Johnson Nutritionals (Bristol Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals). Both companies deny such findings in their own tests. The FDA now concludes that these trace amounts do "not raise public health concerns." Yet, Cadbury and Nestle have recalled candy made in China found to contain Melamine, which is used to fake a higher protein content in milk containing foods.

In reading ingredient labels of some infant formulas like Similac, you may find "high fructose corn syrup", as high as the second ingredient. Corn syrup has been found to increase risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes in children and adults. This could potentially be setting up children for diseases from day one. Unfortunately a new Irish study has found that 61 per cent of males and 40 per cent of females never read the nutrition label before purchase, which may lead to uneducated purchases. To make matters worse the journal Environmental Health say in a study that Mercury has been found in 50% of the US supply of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The US institute for Agriculture and Trade Police also claims to have found mercury in 30% of foods with HFCS as the first or second ingredient.

In addition formula companies are adding DHA and ARA's to some formulas, from "plant sources", promoting them as:"supporting eye development like the breastfed infants". This is a cause of great concern as:

1. These "plant sourced" DHA's are extracted from fungus and algae via a process requiring the use of the neurotoxin chemical Hexane (a byproduct of petroleum refinement). (These are cheaper than fish oils, taste better and can be pulverized for better product consistency.) These DHA and ARA's are according to the Cornucopia Institute is causing some babies to suffer from unexpected deaths and other morbidities including diarrhea, flatulence, jaundice, and apnea among infants who consumed formula supplemented with these long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Other long term effects are unknown.

2. Proper fetal and infant visual and brain development needs DHA and EPA's in the natural balance it's found in fish, EPA's cannot be man-made or extracted (yet).

3. Man has never been able to exactly replicate the nutritional qualities and intricacies of breast milk. Infants are designed to drink from their mother. They are not meant to have cow's milk or anything other than mother's milk in their early lives. Only breast milk contains what a healthy baby needs, including 160 fatty acids that are not found in baby formula.

FDA scientists who reviewed these novel oils have never affirmed their safety. Neither do they have legal power to stop the addition of ingredients such as DHAsco and ARAsco, or to give approval or advice for special ingredients in infant formula. But parents are urged to report any adverse effects of the infant formula to the FDA.

We already know that infants who are not breastfed are at increased risk of infectious diseases like meningitis, diarrhea, respiratory tract infection, and urinary tract infection. They are also at increased risk of SIDS in the first year of life and are more likely to have lower IQ's, and to develop insulin-dependent (type 1) and non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus and many immunological problems like allergies. As adults, they are more likely to develop lymphoma, leukemia, and Hodgkin's disease, overweight and obesity, hypercholesterolemia, and asthma. And mothers who do not breastfeed are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

Why are we also allowing these unsafe ingredients in infant formula, potentially increasing babies' risks for addition health problems?