Federal regulators warn consumers against using “Best Bentonite Clay,” manufactured by Best Bentonite, of Guthrie, Oklahoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that “Best Bentonite Clay” contains increased lead levels and may pose a lead poisoning risk.
FDA laboratories discovered elevated levels of lead in “Best Bentonite Clay.” Exposure to lead may lead to serious damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and immune system, the FDA notes. In children, chronic exposure to lead—even at lower levels—has been tied to cognitive impairment, reduced IQ, behavioral difficulties, and other problems.
“Best Bentonite Clay” is sold as a fine powder and may be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as on the Best Bentonite website. According to the Best Bentonite website, customers are to mix the product with water and either ingest it or apply it to their skin.
Although the FDA has not confirmed any lead poisoning cases associated with “Best Bentonite Clay,” it notes that consumers should not purchase or use “Best Bentonite Clay” and notes that anyone who has used this product or given it to a child should consult a health care professional immediately.
Lead poisoning is the greatest environmental health threat to children under the age of six and typically occurs from swallowing lead or breathing lead dust. While this usually occurs with lead paint chips and paint, lead ingestion may occur from consumption of a lead-containing product, such as “Best Bentonite Clay.” Small amounts of lead may be dangerous to children under the age of six because their growing bodies absorb lead more easily than adult bodies do. In fact, a prior study revealed that childhood exposure to lead may lead to permanent brain damage.
In children and fetuses, lead exposure may also cause brain and nervous system damage, behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, mental and physical retardation, and behavioral and other health problems.
Lead is also known to cause cancer and reproductive harm and, in adults, may damage the nervous system. Once poisoned by lead, no organ system is immune.
Lead poisoning is difficult to recognize because it manifests with subtle symptoms and there are no definitive indicators pointing to contamination. When faced with peculiar symptoms that do not match any one particular disease, lead poisoning should be considered.