For the past few months, Natural News has been warning the world about toxic heavy metals found in foods, superfoods and dietary supplements grown in China. Our Natural News Forensic Food Lab has produced breakthrough results showing, for example, that rice protein imported from China is significantly contaminated with lead, cadmium and tungsten -- all industrial heavy metals.
Some greed-driven promoters of rice protein initially insisted all these heavy metals were "naturally occurring," but now the Chinese government has gone on the record confirming the truth: China's farm lands are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals, and this has now been scientifically documented and proven by Chinese researchers and publicly released by Chinese authorities.
19.4% of China's farm lands contaminated with toxic heavy metals
According to this statement by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in China, 19.4% of the nation's arable land has been heavily contaminated by toxic heavy metals.
82.8% of the contaminants found on farms are "inorganic" contaminants which include cadmium, mercury, arsenic, copper and lead -- all toxic heavy metals we've been investigating in foods and superfoods at the Natural News Forensic Food Labs.
This confirms my detailed video explanation where I destroy the absurd "naturally occurring" argument being pushed by importers of contaminated foods and superfoods from China. Click here to watch the video now.
The false argument being made by heavy metals denialists was that when heavy metals are released by industrial smoke stacks, they begin as "pollutants," but after they settle on farms, they become "natural." Therefore, the deniers claimed, lead and cadmium in rice protein was "naturally occurring."
I have personally conducted the scientific research to document cadmium levels at over 2.5 ppm in certified organic rice protein products sold in the USA (and imported from China) as "certified organic." These levels have been independently confirmed by rice protein manufacturers. None of the lab results published at Natural News have ever been disputed. In fact, they have been confirmed by numerous third-party laboratories.
Now we know why: "China released a report April 17 disclosing that 16.1 percent of the country's soil and nearly 20 percent of its arable land has been contaminated, largely by heavy metals such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. This is the price the country is paying for its meteoric rise over the last 35 years, with little thought given to protecting the environment," reports the Japan Times (1).
"The latest report suggests that the situation has greatly worsened since the 2006 report, with twice the amount of arable land now being contaminated... Clearly much of China's soil is contaminated and heavy metals are entering the food chain, with dire consequences for consumers," Japan Times added.
The BBC chimes in with the headline, "Report: One fifth of China's soil contaminated." (2)
Americans being poisoned by toxic heavy metals imported from China
To my knowledge, no one in America other than Natural News is currently sounding the alarm on this issue of heavy metals in organic superfoods and natural products. There are thousands of certified organic proteins, superfoods, herbal supplements and other products being imported into the United States and sold as "organic" even though they are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals.
In my own ICP-MS laboratory, I'm seeing very high levels of lead and cadmium in all sorts of products imported from China, including rice protein and Ginkgo Biloba herbal supplements.
According to the Chinese government, 82.8% of the non-organic produce grown in China exceeds the government's heavy metals limits. (You have to read the Chinese announcement to get this.)
That means four out of five fruits and vegetables grown in China are so toxic that they're sold in violation of the government's own limits!
These are the same soils in which "organic" herbs, superfoods and dietary supplements are grown before they are imported into the USA. And yet herbs, proteins and "superfoods" produced in China can be imported into the USA regardless of their heavy metals content. That's because neither the FDA nor the USDA has any limits whatsoever on heavy metals contamination of foods. So products that are heavily contaminated with industrial heavy metals are imported into the USA every single day and sold on the shelves of health food retailers like Whole Foods.
Alarming levels of cadmium and lead found in products purchased at Whole Foods earlier this week
As part of my own scientific testing of heavy metals contaminants in the food supply, I purchased rice protein products from Whole Foods in Austin Texas on 4/28. Here are just the highlights of what I found (more details coming on this story in the next two weeks with full lab results):
• "Raw" Protein (Vanilla) at over .3 ppm lead and nearly 2.0 ppm cadmium
• "Truganic" Protein at over .3 ppm lead and nearly 1.8 ppm cadmium
• Grass superfood powder at over .4 ppm lead and over .8 ppm cadmium
• Brown rice protein powder at over .3 ppm lead and over 1 ppm cadmium
I've also found Ginkgo Biloba herbs grown in China and sold in the USA to contain over 5.0 ppm lead. (The Whole Foods brand of ginkgo capsules, however, turns out to be very clean with less than .04 ppm lead.)
The debate is over: Foods, superfoods, herbs and organics from China are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals
There is no longer any debate on this issue of heavy metals in products imported from China. The Chinese government has now publicly admitted one-fifth of its farm lands are heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals.
Even the BBC has covered the story, reporting (2):
About 82.8% of the polluted land was contaminated by inorganic materials, with levels noticeably higher than the previous survey between 1986 and 1990... The report had previously been classified as a state secret because of its sensitivity. "Due to long periods of extensive industrial development and high pollutant emissions, some regions have suffered deteriorating land quality and serious soil pollution."
That this information even came out was nothing short of a political miracle in China. As the New Straits Times is now reporting (3):
Premier Li Keqiang signed a directive ordering officials not to use "state secrets" as an excuse to avoid disclosing information that should be public knowledge. The release of the soil contamination report appears to be a direct result of this directive.
Awareness is rapidly spreading on this issue across the USA, too. Natural News has spearheaded this effort and has already worked with leading rice protein manufacturers to reach agreement on voluntary heavy metals limits for their products.
Companies like Jarrow Formulas, however, have so far refused to agree to those limits. The latest batch of Jarrow Formulas Brown Rice Protein, Lot# 50696014, shows lead at .312 ppm and cadmium at 1.015 ppm with the heavy metal tungsten also detected at significant levels.
Jarrow Formulas, like nearly every other rice protein manufacturer, is right now selling products that contain toxic, cancer-causing heavy metals contaminants. This fact is irrefutable. The Chinese government's admission that its farm lands are widely contaminated with toxic heavy metals explains where much of this is coming from.
Natural products retailers remain in a state of total denial
The natural products industry, encompassing many independent online retailers as well as brick-and-mortar stores, remains in a state of total denial about the toxic heavy metals they are selling to their customers.
To my knowledge, not one retailer has yet pulled any of these contaminated products off their shelves. Where there's money to be made by moving products contaminated with heavy metals, there's one thing you can count on from natural products retailers: SILENCE.
Fearful of a wave of refunds (or even class action lawsuits), everyone's lips are sealed on this hidden epidemic of heavy metals poisoning. And through this silence, retailers continue to sell contaminated products containing alarming concentrations of known poisons without alerting their customers to the facts.
It seems that every retailer currently selling rice protein in the USA is, knowingly or unknowingly, complicit in this cover-up. The toxic metals they are selling are fully known to cause kidney damage, heart disease, skin disorders, cancer, bone disorders and brain disorders. The lead found in these products is widely known to damage developing brains and lower IQs. Virtually no one in the industry seems to think their customers should be alerted to this fact. To me, that's disgusting and grossly immoral.
Right now, I believe that every retailer of contaminated products from China has an ethical and social obligation to stop selling contaminated products and warn their customers about products which are contaminated.
Continued denial of this industry-wide problem is highly unethical and possibly even legally negligent. Those who continue selling these heavily contaminated products should be heavily pressured by the health-conscious community to clean up their act!
How the cover-up continues
Sadly, there is no law in the USA requiring herbs, supplements, proteins or other products be labeled with their country of origin.
Manufacturers routinely import raw materials from China, then label them with amazing-sounding descriptions that often mislead consumers.
Case in point: Take the Warrior Food product from Warrior Force, a company I really admire for their positive intentions, by the way. They are also working hard on improving their formula and I expect they will have substantially cleaner product available soon. But their current label on their current product is simply misleading, claiming the product is "NON-TOXIC" and "100% TruGanic" with the claim that it is "a purist, hard-core, quality standard significantly beyond Organic standards, with much more stringent criteria and actual verification via testing that Organic does not have."
Yet when I tested Warrior Food Lot #31105010, purchased from Whole Foods on 4/28/2014, I found this product to contain:
• .3 ppm lead
• 1.791 ppm cadmium
• Substantial levels of tungsten
On the good news side, the great people at Warrior Force are working hard on new formulations and I expect to see these numbers drastically improve in the near future. Warrior Force has enthusiastically signed on with our voluntary heavy metals limits, and I fully expect they will be one of the first manufacturers to introduce a low-metals rice protein into the marketplace.
Yet, at the same time, I have to honestly and authentically ask how could these levels of contaminants exist in their product in the first place if they have "a purist, hard-core, quality standard significantly beyond Organic standards, with much more stringent criteria and actual verification via testing" as they claim?
It doesn't add up. Somewhere along the line, someone made a decision that these levels of lead and cadmium were okay for customers to eat. That's a huge error and it strongly contradicts the stated philosophy of the company. This is NOT okay! If it's so much better than organic, why does it still contain heavy metals at such levels?
If you bought products from China, take action now
There are all sorts of products you've probably been purchasing from China without knowing it. Rice protein is just one, but China also produces a huge percentage of the herbs, vegetable powders, grass powders and even many superfruits sold across the natural products industry. Most of the grass powders sold in the USA, for example, are actually grown in China. Many of the "bulk herbs" sold on Amazon.com and other retailers are also heavily contaminated with toxic heavy metals because they are imported from China.
For example, when I tested Ginkgo Biloba herbs grown in the USA, lead and cadmium levels were near zero. But when I tested Ginkgo imported from China, it showed an alarming 5 ppm of lead, a level that would raise alarm with anyone educated in food contamination issues.
The bottom line in all this? If you don't want to poison yourself with toxic heavy metals from China, you need to immediately start taking these steps on the foods, proteins, supplements and herbs you consume:
STEP 1) Ask the manufacturer for the country of origin.
STEP 2) Ask the manufacturer for heavy metals lab results for YOUR lot number (printed on every bottle).
STEP 3) Reject retailers that continue to sell heavily contaminated products. Demand that retailers set quality control standards which encompass heavy metals contamination issues.
What levels are okay? A good starting place is the site I created, LowHeavyMetalsVerified.org which offers a generous grading system for heavy metals concentrations. I personally reject all raw materials worse than grade "A." Many rice proteins sold today are grade "B" which is entirely unacceptable given the huge quantities that people consume (serving sizes are typically around 23 grams).
Right now, just one scoop of contaminated rice protein can expose you to over 15 - 20 times the daily lead limit of Proposition 65 in California. That's unacceptable. Rice protein companies need to be at grade "A" or better, in my view as a food science researcher.
The good news is that companies are rapidly moving in that direction, and I fully expect to see some cleaner rice proteins on store shelves by this August (and possibly even in July).
Until then, I strongly recommend you switch to some other protein. 365 brand Whey Protein Powder from Whole Foods contains almost zero lead or cadmium, and a brand called "Tera's Whey" was super clean, clocking in at just .012 ppm lead and .078 ppm cadmium (with zero tungsten detected). These are about the best numbers you'll ever find.
Life's Basics Plant Protein Mix (from LifeTime) sold at Whole Foods (Lot #3793) was also remarkably clean for a plant-based protein, turning in lead number of just .023 ppb and cadmium of just .068 ppm. Both are extremely low -- among the lowest you'll find in plant protein.
I'll be bringing you more official, detailed reports on all this in the coming weeks. Watch for many more explosive reports on heavy metals during the month of May.