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Rocket Fuel Found In Baby Formula

No, this isn’t a belated (and distasteful) April Fool’s joke. It’s the truth. A recent study by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control discovered a chemical used in rocket fuel in several different brands of powdered infant formula.

It’s called perchlorate, and it’s turned up in the drinking water supplies of several cities, particularly those near defense and aerospace sites. The study done by the CDC noted that the levels of perchlorate in infant formula could easily exceed what’s considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also containing the contaminant.

If you’re a mother who’s unable or unwilling to breastfeed, you naturally look to infant formula to fill in the gap. Your baby needs to eat.

But at what cost?

Industrialized infant formula, like so many foods available at the grocery store, isn’t Real Food. It’s a strange mix of chemicals and additives that you wouldn’t put in your own body, so why would you want to put it in your baby’s?

Some ingredients common to infant formula:

  • nonfat dry milk (besides not being a whole food, it also contains oxidized cholesterol and free glutamic acid)
  • soy-bean (you all surely know about the dangers of unfermented soy, particularly to your thyroid)
  • sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil (modern, industrialized oils which you should definitely avoid)
  • lactose (again, not a whole food)
  • rice starch (not a whole food)
  • milk protein isolate (not a whole food)
  • casein hydrosylate (do you really need to ask?)
  • modified corn starch (contains free glutamic acid, AKA “MSG”)
  • soy protein isolate (not a whole food and from soy!)
  • corn syrup (not a natural sugar and usually GMO-based)

Not to mention all the unintended ingredients like bisephenol A or perchlorate.

What is a mother to do?

Fortunately, there is an alternative! The Weston A. Price Foundation has created a few recipes for homemade infant formula which use only Real Food as ingredients. I know many mothers who’ve used the recipes with great success, who watched babies failing to thrive on industrialized formula do a complete turn around and be restored to health with these all-natural alternatives.

This post is my own contribution to today’s Fight Back Fridays blog carnival. For more recipes, stories, and anecdotes about Real Food, go check it out!

(photo by Ben_McLeod)
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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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14 Responses to Rocket Fuel Found In Baby Formula
  1. Son of Grok
    April 3, 2009 | 2:55 pm

    This means that changeing a diaper near an open flame like a candle could be exceptionally dangerous!

    All joking aside though, this story is alraming and very not funny.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok

  2. Michelle @ Find Your Balance
    April 3, 2009 | 3:09 pm

    I’m glad you ended the post with an alternative! I was getting worried!

    Michelle @ Find Your Balance

  3. KristenM
    April 3, 2009 | 3:21 pm

    SoG — You don’t have kids yet, do you? But when you do, remember this post! Store bought formula scares me on so many levels. I know there are hundreds of thousands of us walking around who were raised on this stuff, so it surely does its job and keeps babies alive and reasonably healthy until they can eat solids. But if there is an alternative (such as breastfeeding or making your own all-natural formula), wouldn’t you want to give that a shot first? Breastfeeding, after all, is FREE *and* helps mothers shed pregnancy pounds.

    Michelle — I know! Not enough mothers know that they can safely make their own formula. If they did, I’m sure there’d be more people doing it.

  4. Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen
    April 3, 2009 | 4:13 pm

    Sadly, formula isn’t alone on this one. A study a few years back found the same chemical in human breastmilk. This crap is everywhere. I think it’s also safe to assume that if it’s in human milk, it’s likely to be in cow milk too. After all, we’re all drinking the same water and breathing the same air. Of course, breastfeeding is hands-down the better choice over conventional formula and the WAPF-formula.

    Jenny @ Nourished Kitchen

  5. KristenM
    April 3, 2009 | 4:21 pm

    Jenny — Yeah. I’ve been reading Nina Planck’s new book (Real Food For Mother And Baby) and got to the part last night where she had her breastmilk tested! She then compared it to the average of what’s found in breastmilk in the U.S. and other countries. It was VERY revealing.

    My conclusion? We really need to be DETOXING as often as we can. Drinking kombucha surely helps, but we need to be proactive in other ways by sticking to only eating clean foods and refusing to saturate our bodies and homes in strange chemicals.

  6. Christy
    April 3, 2009 | 7:55 pm

    I fed two of my babies the WAPF homemade formula and it was wonderful! I was so happy to have found the recipe and the website. It changed the way I feed my family forever. Unfortunately my first baby was on commercial formula for a year and I cringe whenever I read things like this. But I’m doing my best that I can for him. He actually seems quite healthy in spite of my poor choices!
    If anyone is on the fence about making your own formula just go ahead and try it! The recipe seems overwhelming at first but once you hunt down all the ingredients and have everything together it’s really easy. After a few weeks I probably could have made the stuff in my sleep!

  7. Patricia Prenosil
    April 4, 2009 | 4:36 pm

    I could not get my son to breastfeed at all (even after multiple lactation consultants and LLL leaders tried to help). I pumped for 9 months but could only pump 50% (less later when his appetite went up) of what he needed. I hated formula, but used it because I couldn’t find an alternative. I wish I had known about the WAPF formulas then. He has so many difficulties and I still wonder all the time if some of them could have been avoided or lessened if he had never had formula. We are trying to change to better diets now (and by some standards we already ate pretty good!). It’s so hard to educate people because many feel defensive due to past choices.

  8. KristenM
    April 5, 2009 | 10:03 am

    Christy — It’s good to get a real testimony in here about the WAPF homemade formula. I never made it (thankfully both my boys were/are excellent at breastfeeding and I’ve never had to interrupt it for any health concerns), but from what I hear your story is common. It’s a bid intimidating at first, but soooo worth it and even easy once you get the hang of it.

    Patricia — Yes, I’ve encountered that defensiveness, too, with a lot of women. I wholeheartedly believe EVERY mother is trying to do what’s best for their kids with the resources they’ve got, so when I speak about other alternatives I’m in no way judging the moms who chose to do things differently! I wouldn’t beat yourself up over the past. Seriously! I’m *amazed* you pumped for 9 months. I’m fortunate enough to work from home, so I never had to pump. I have nothing but respect and amazement for the women who do, and wonder if I’d have the same endurance if it were me.

  9. lo
    April 5, 2009 | 8:24 pm

    I hate reading things like this… it’s a constant reminder of the sad state our food supply is in. So many mothers just trying to care for their children…

    I love the concept of FBFridays… and I promise, I’ll take the time to submit. In good time. Been down with a cold this week and didn’t get my butt in gear in time to submit by Friday… but I’m totally glad you sponsor this eye-opening event.


  10. KristenM
    April 5, 2009 | 10:58 pm

    Lo — Thanks for commenting. I hope you do contribute something soon. We’re gaining contributors each week. (That means the momentum is building in the RIGHT direction!)

  11. Raine Saunders
    April 6, 2009 | 1:27 pm

    Great web site, and love the content here! I’m a raw milk and grass-fed meat advocate, writer, and educator who manages a site called Agriculture Keep up the great work about education for real food and nutrition!

    -Raine Saunders

    Raine Saunders

  12. Sandy
    September 29, 2011 | 1:36 pm

    What an eye opener for mom’s to double check to ensure they are giving their babes the very best infant formulas. Yes, as Wallace above stated, the link is bad. I too would love to have the link for the infant formula, or if you know the recipe, can you edit the article and include it, or send it to me! Thanks!

  13. Cathy
    April 5, 2013 | 10:03 am

    Check out this post i wrote a few months ago about finding a GMO-free infant formula. The search for me was EYE-OPENING. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to get a clear answer and also to find a healthy alternative to breastmilk.

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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