If you’re eating or drinking greens nutritional supplements regularly, it might be a good idea to ensure they have been tested. Unwittingly, consuming lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury daily is a certain route to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and bone diseases. It’s essential to verify what you’re consuming is fresh and safe in order to safeguard your health.
You may not be aware of this, but in actual fact, the USDA Organic Certification Program has no specific limit to the level of heavy metals contamination in certified organic supplements.
This leads some scrupulous companies to cut corners in manufacturing. The reason for this? They are not interested in your health; they are only interested in your money.
Many supplements on the market, labeled “organic,” actually contain high amounts of lead, mercury, and arsenic.
Let’s take a look at what factors and certifications you should look for when buying greens supplements, along with any other nutritional product, marketed as providing health benefits.
Third Party Testing & Why It’s Important For Lead Detection
Third-Party Testing or “Certification,” means the supplement was tested, examined, and approved by an independent organization with no primary involvement in manufacturing the supplement being questioned.
Third-party testing evaluates the supplement to guarantee the label directly equals the product’s compounds in terms of quantity, nature, and pureness.
These nonpartisan testing organizations have played a significant role in gradually winning back the general public’s trust, allowing them to buy supplements and understand the label’s correlation to the ingredients.
High-quality super greens are manufactured in a USA cGMP lab and are third-party examined for quality, pureness, and security.
Earning the customers’ confidence is an essential foundation of any philosophy and one that should inspire manufacturers to develop the most potent quality greens supplements.
Many, not all, but many supplement companies “deceive” or fail to “reveal” the quantities of ingredients their product includes through the use of proprietary blends.
Businesses are obliged by law to disclose their ingredients; however, under the pretense of “protecting their brand,” manufacturers are able to get away with covering up the exact amount included in their products.
An illustration of how corporations navigate this is by declaring they have 5000mg of two ingredients; however, one of the two components makes up 4900mg, with the rarer costly ingredient, inevitably only accounting for only 100mg.
One glance at any high-quality company’s label, and you should be able to see precisely what you’re getting.
The Role Of The Food And Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration or FDA controls and monitors the levels of heavy metals, including lead, in everything from cosmetics, foods and nutritional supplements like greens powders (1). The reason for the monitoring is due to the fact that high levels of lead in food and supplements can cause serious health difficulties.
It’s important to remember that lead is a naturally occurring substance and can be found in the soil; however, large quantities come from industrial and manufacturing pollution.
Though most deliberate lead applications are now outlawed in the United States, lead was earlier utilized in different supplements, food and drink, and manufacturing methods.
For instance, in many countries, lead is still added to household paint, children’s crayons, and even baby toys. High levels of lead can be incredibly harmful.
Lead can be found present in our food and drink for a number of different reasons.
As mentioned earlier, most of the time, it comes from manufacturing and industrial pollution, which falls onto the soil and is absorbed by the food.
- If the lead does happen to fall on the soil, it cannot be entirely eliminated by washing or alternative cleaning processes.
- The lead is subsequently absorbed by the plants, which are then used as ingredients in our food, drinks, and supplementation.
- Animals also ingest and absorb the lead contained in the soil and water; humans then consume the meat contaminated with lead.
- Lead can accidentally penetrate through the plumbing at manufacturing plants, which can also lead to contamination.
- Some objects like cutlery, kitchen utensils, and ceramics also have trace elements on their surfaces, which is then passed to us after it comes in contact with the object.
Unfortunately, lead and most other heavy metals do not biodegrade or escape into the atmosphere, even after 100s of years (2). However, from 1970 onwards, lead levels in food and supplements have declined significantly, although some low levels of lead are still detected from time to time.
It’s basically impossible to prevent lead and other heavy metals from entering the food supply, which is why the FDA attempts to restrict user exposure through various rules and regulations handed down to food, drink, and supplement manufacturers.
As part of this effort, in 2017, the FDA created the Toxic Elements Working Group, in part, to reevaluate when the FDA should take action on measured levels of lead in particular foods.
The FDA also monitors and regulates specific food groups to ensure the quality, safety, and purity of ingredients. Common food groups to be tested are baby products, foods regularly eaten by children, and nutritional supplementation.
I’ve linked to an excellent report put out by the FDA in 2008 relating to women and children’s vitamins (3).
Interim Reference Level
The FDA calculated the Interim Reference Level (IRL) as a maximum daily intake in regards to consuming lead from food and supplements (3). The hope is not to increase blood levels too high, which then leads to health problems and complications.
The daily limit for children is 5 ug/dL; This is the limit the FDA has recommended through the IRL.
12.5 µg per day for adults is the recommended limit for lead exposure. An important fact here is that the FDA has intentionally set the limit ten times less than the amount that would cause serious harm through exposure.
The limit also takes into account differences in populations such as ethnicity and socioeconomic brackets.
The level for adults is particularly important for pregnant women as unwanted lead exposure can cause harm to the unborn baby.
The FDA says they remain committed to continuing research in this field.
Total Diet Study
For many years now, the FDA has also conducted research via what they call the “Total Diet Study.” This involves FDA staff buying and preparing more than 250 meals from different ingredients several times throughout the year.
The data is then evaluated to determine how much, on average, the entire U.S. Population consumes yearly.
This program has been in place since 1961, and the results are used to guide and implement policy concerning food, drink, and supplements.
Proposition 65 came into effect more than 30 years ago and has been extremely successful in diminishing susceptibilities to heavy metals like lead (4).
However, many see it as controversial due to the strict burden of proof, which requires manufacturers of food explicitly, drink, and supplements, to know the exact safety amount of each ingredient related to cancer.
Chemicals that cause congenital disabilities are also tested and heavily regulated.
Increased public knowledge concerning heavy metals’ harmful effects has risen dramatically, partly due to Proposition 65’s role. It also provided an impetus for supplement manufacturers to exclude harmful metals like lead from their ingredients list.
However, it can be a costly procedure, and some companies have complained about the investment required to achieve certification.
It’s an unfortunate part of the supplement industry that people who are out to make a buck take advantage of consumers who are just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Lead and other heavy metals are a problem within the industry, but only a small percentage of manufacturers don’t play by the rules.
Across the United States, there are literally millions of people concerned about their health and the health of their children who are buying supplements that contain toxic levels of lead.
When buying supplements, it’s paramount that you check they have been “Third-party tested” for safety and purity, are made in the USA, are 100% organic, and contain no added sugars or additives.
So remember, “organic” alone does not guarantee the supplement you are buying is safe; For that, it must be Third Party Tested.
Sadly many people are being deceived by a small percentage of manufacturers and suffering from side effects related to leads and heavy metals.
We genuinely hope the information covered in this article provides you with the knowledge and confidence to not only buy but consume super greens supplements with confidence.