What Are the Health Risks from Pesticides and Chemicals from Dietary Supplements? by Larry Newman

What Are the Health Risks from Pesticides and Chemicals from Dietary Supplements?
by Larry Newman

Last month Kirkman® introduced its Ultra Tested™ products, which are laboratory tested for more than 950 contaminants. Included in what we test for are potentially harmful levels of heavy metals, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, endocrine disruptors and chemicals.

No other nutritional supplement company in the world offer’s testing to this degree, but we believe this level of testing is necessary to ensure the safety of nutritional supplement products.

You may ask yourself, “how would dietary supplements contain pesticides and chemicals that would harm me or my family?”

Well, think about the origin of materials that go into manufacturing nutritional supplements. Consider these facts:

■Vitamins are synthetically manufactured all over the world in hundreds of different factories that produce materials for many other industries. What other chemicals might those facilities utilize?
■Most minerals come out of the ground from potentially contaminated soil.
■Herbs and spices are grown all over the world in potentially contaminated soil and then are sprayed with harmful pesticides to control insects, fungi and parasites.
■Dehydrated fruits and vegetables used in supplements can also be grown in contaminated soil and sprayed with pesticides.
■Water is used in processing raw materials. That water can be contaminated with chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals or other residues.

So, the fact of the matter is that food and dietary supplements are potential and probable vehicles for introducing contaminants to your family. This is why the Kirkman® Ultra Tested™ product line is so revolutionary.

You need to be sure that your supplements are free of pesticide, fungicide and herbicide residues along with other harmful chemicals. You can’t be sure unless your supplement company does the tests.

Some companies test herbal and plant products for pesticide residues, but pesticide contamination can occur anywhere in a manufacturing facility, so only testing herbs and plants is not a true guarantee that a company’s products are pesticide and chemical free. Kirkman® tests all products for these pesticides, chemicals and endocrine disruptor residues.

Why is Testing for These Compounds So Important?

Studies are mounting and research is convincing, that suggest that pesticides, chemicals and endocrine disruptors when consumed by children and even adults of child bearing age can contribute to the children or developing offspring any number of developmental disorders or delays, including:

■behavioral or social disorders
■learning disabilities
■failure to thrive due to malnutrition

Consumption of these contaminants or environmental toxins have a negative impact on the neurological development and makeup of individuals. Since developmental disorders are neuro-inflammatory diseases with possible genetic implications, imbalance occurs in nerve function, gut function, detoxification and mitochondrial function. The developmental disorder manifestation is the result.

As early as 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported increasing evidence that environmental chemicals can disrupt neurodevelopmental processes during critical periods of development, resulting in effects on motor, sensory and cognitive function.

There are some regulatory mechanisms in place to protect us from inappropriate exposures to environmental chemicals, but these are insufficient at present. Most pertain to levels of contaminants in water supplies, not foods or dietary supplements. On April 4, 2011, the EPA published a list of chemicals (labeled neurotoxicants) that are most dangerous to children’s development. This will soon draw significant attention from food and supplement companies, who will hopefully address these developmental issues. Kirkman’s Ultra Tested™ line addresses these problems now in dietary supplements.

These chemical issues in food can be partially solved by using organic foods. The University of Washington has reported that organic food provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorous pesticides.

The California Department of Public Health, in searching for clues as to what caused a 210% increase in the prevalence of autism in their State, examined the proximity of pesticide exposure of 270,000 women who gave birth. The incidence of autism was the greatest for women living nearest the fields exposed to pesticides. The incidence decreased the further away the mother was from the exposed fields.

In addition to chemical contaminants leading to the onset of developmental disorders and delays, there are other public health considerations that need to be mentioned. Continuous ingestion of these chemical type contaminants is also implicated in cerebral palsy, mental retardation, cancer and tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and infertility. The evidence for environmental toxins contributing to these conditions is very strong, though more research is necessary.

Kirkman’s Ultra Tested™ product line is an advanced approach to ensuring that our customers’ health is not compromised by our products. It stands alone in product purity testing.

Larry Newman is Chief Operating Officer, Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Kirkman Group, Inc. He is one of the country's leading experts in the manufacturing of dietary supplements.