September 23, 2018

Clean Label Project Finds Lead in Many Brands of Protein Powder

The Clean Label Project has studied 134 protein powder products made by 52 different brands. They screened the products for contaminants and toxins, including heavy metals such as lead, pesticides, and others that are linked to cancer.

protein powder warning

The study, conducted this year, found alarming compounds in many brands of protein powder. The products were tested by a third party analytical chemistry laboratory. The products were animal-based, whey, and plant-based. Then then rated the products with ratings of one, three, or five stars.

You can see the ratings of the protein powders at their site.  They found that 70% of the powders contained lead, 74% contained cadmium, and 55% contained BPA, a hormone disruptor. Others contained arsenic, another heavy metal.

Cadmium is a heavy metal. It can affect the cardiovascular system, affects fetuses when developing in the womb, and cause digestive, neurological, renal, and respiratory problems. It is known to be a human carcinogen.

Lead is another heavy metal that has serious health consequences. This compound is especially hazardous to children, since their bodies absorb more of the metal than adults do. Lead in children’s blood can lead to lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, and behavioral and learning problems. It accumulates in the body over time. It can also cause problems in the cardiovascular system, causes decreased kidney function, and leads to reproductive problems.

BPA, or bisphenol A, is a hormone disruptor. Some studies have shown that it can affect the brain and cause high blood pressure and may cause birth defects. The FDA just said that BPA is safe at very low levels.

Arsenic is a heavy metal that is linked to cancers and developmental problems. The study did not say whether the arsenic found was organic or inorganic. Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen.

Of the products tested, the scientists found that egg based protein powders are cleaner than plant-based products. And buying organic won’t help. Certified “organic” protein powders have more than two times the heavy metals compared to non-organic products that were tested. The research showed that plant-based protein powders tested worst.

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