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Report: Certain "Natural" Supplements Aren't So Natural

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020   

MINNEAPOLIS -- Supplements that promise healthier skin and other benefits are very popular right now, but a new report says some of them contain heavy metals that could be harmful to users.

The study by the Organic Consumers Association and Clean Label Project looked at nearly 30 of the top-selling collagen supplements sold on Amazon.com. It found the products contained a wide range of levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, lead and mercury.

The Organic Consumer Association's associate director, Katherine Paul, said the research raises concerns about where these supplements are coming from.

"These collagen products essentially are sourced from industrial factory farms," she said, "and that's the source of the heavy metals."

In some cases, only trace amounts of metals were detected, but the report authors say there could be harmful side effects for people who use these products on a daily basis for long periods of time. In some, the amounts of cadmium exceeded safety levels for products sold in California. The groups said the findings should prompt other states to adopt health standards for heavy metals.

Jackie Bowen, executive director of the cleanlabelproject.org, said that without much regulatory oversight of these supplements, people need more education about what they're putting into their bodies.

"When consumers are armed with information," she said, "can they expect and demand better from brands? And that's what we're hoping the outcome is here."

Bowen said more people need to voice their concerns to manufactures and retailers about selling products that are consistent with how they're marketed. She said that's especially the case for products that are branded as "all natural," but fall short of that claim.

The report is to be posted at organicconsumers.org/usa.

Disclosure: Organic Consumers Association contributes to our fund for reporting on Consumer Issues, Environment, Rural/Farming and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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