A recent government study has found a potential personal injury risk for infants. The study found traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel in samples of powdered baby formula, which could exceed what is considered to be a safe dosage for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient.
The study was conducted by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to look for the chemical perchlorate within different brands of powdered baby formula. It was published in March, but on April 2, the Environmental Working Group issued a press release to draw attention to it.
The chemical has also been discovered in the drinking water of several cities. Perchlorate is a chemical that can occur naturally, but the majority of contamination from the chemical has been tied to defense and aerospace sites.
No testing has ever shown health problems caused by the chemical; however, scientists say that significant amounts of perchlorate can have an effect on thyroid function. The thyroid helps the body set its metabolism. Thyroid problems can have an effect on brain development in fetuses and infants.
However, scientists say the extent of the risk is difficult to determine. The formula is required by the government to contain iodine, which counteracts the effects of perchlorate. The infant’s size and the amount of formula consumed are also factors that can influence risk.
The study itself does not shed much light on the dangers of perchlorate in baby formula. One of the authors of the study, Dr. Joshua Schier, said that the intention of the study was not health effects.
The study found the largest amounts of the chemical in formulas that had been derived from cow’s milk.
The researchers refused to disclose which brands of formula were studied. According to a spokesman for the CDC, there were only a few samples studied, so it is difficult to determine whether or not the perchlorate levels would be found in all containers of the brands studied.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that it was considering placing new limits on the acceptable level of perchlorate in drinking water. Some states have already set their own limits.
Nearly 4,000 public water supplies serving 10,000 people or more have been examined by the EPA. Approximately 160 of the water systems had detectable levels of perchlorate, 31 of which had levels in excess of the new standards under consideration by the EPA.