Monday, October 18, 2010

Dr. Mercola Angers Fans by Promoting Infant Formula

By Lisa Russell
Published Oct 18, 2010
0diggsdigg Share Article Print Article Dr Mercola's natural-minded fan base is angry about his decision to market an artificial breastmilk product. His ethics are called into question.

Dr Joseph Mercola's Facebook Fan Page was buzzing with activity early on the morning of Monday, October 18, 2010. Some of his "fans," which (at 8am PST) number over 128,000, are angry with his decision to market a breastmilk substitute for infants.

The controversy has inspired women to speak out against his lack-of-a-position regarding male genital mutilation (routine infant circumcision) as well.

One former Mercola fan sums up the consensus of the objectors:

I have been a very vocal supporter of yours for YEARS. However, as a prominent lactivist & child health advocate with a large network here on Facebook, and having read this morning about your upcoming powdered infant formula to hit the market in a year's time, you should know that I will now be pulling my support for you entirely. That, coupled with your wishy-washy stance on infant genital cutting, makes it clear to all (or it should), that infant health is clearly NOT your concern; getting the lion's share of the formula market, however, is. If you truly cared about infant health, you'd inject some of your burgeoning fortune into *breastfeeding support* in your country, instead of adding to the detriment that ALL breastmilk substitutes have on infants who consume them. Disappointed beyond words in Montréal, -Emma KwasnicaDr Mercola's site has been publishing articles to educate his readers about the dangerous levels of Manganese in soy-based infant formula. In his article "Warning: Please Avoid Feeding This To Your Child" (10-18-10) he states that

children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures.

and later, that:Studies on miners and steelworkers, for example, have shown that excessive exposure to manganese can cause manganese poisoning, Parkinson's disease, and Wilson's diseaseMercola points out that manganese exists in groundwater, and points out that some areas are now filtering manganese out of their water.

In third world countries, and areas where water contamination is likely, powdered infant formula can be deadly for babies. Polluted water, fed to infants, often results in deadly infections. The World Health organization works very hard to educate women in third world countries about the benefits of breastfeeding.

Mercola's article states that his company is "in the process of producing the finest infant formula on the market" Those 12 words were the impetus of outrage. Nakai Rupp, a former fan of Dr Mercola, questions his stance on male genital mutilation as well, stating:

I pulled my support of you earlier this year when I found out that you delete questions about circumcision from your page and you do not answer them. Which makes one think that you are possibly FOR infant genital mutilation. And now you are developing formula?! WOW! What a disgrace! If you can line your pockets at the expense of a baby's health, you do not deserve MY support. I will be spreading the word about you, so that others may see what you are truly about!! I am once again removing myself from ALL of your mailing lists.

Unable to find a specific statement regarding his stance on circumcision, an article from April of 2000 states that Mercola was "impressed with the evidence supporting circumcision" while another article on the site, written by Dietrich Klinghardt, MD, PhD, listed circumcision as an event that can "Leave Behind an Unresolved Psycho-Emotional Conflict" which, if left unresolved, can create a significant bioelectrical disturbance in conflict-specific areas of the brain. The abnormal signals produce abnormal neuropeptides and abnormal electrical currents that reach the hypothalamus. From here, the signals travel in the autonomic nervous system to distinct target organs, which are - again - conflict specific"In other articles on the site, Mercola's readers can be seen sharing their circumcision stance and encouraging Dr Mercola to speak out, though he has not.


Warning: Please Avoid Feeding This to Your Child on

Circumcision Facts on

Applied Psycho-Neurobiology by Dr Dietrich Klinghardt on

Read more at Suite101: Dr Mercola Angers Fans by Promoting Infant Formula

Joyfully Kissing her beautiful baby boy: The girl branded too stupid to be a mother

Joyfully kissing her beautiful baby boy - the girl branded too stupid to be a wife or a mother
By Alison Smith Squire

Laughing in the autumn sunshine, a baby boy takes his first wobbly steps along a sandy beach. His delighted and attentive mother offers a safe pair of arms as his proud father captures the moment with his camera.
It is a touching scene that any parent would recognise. But it is particularly precious for Kerry Robertson and her new husband Mark McDougall.
Kerry, you may remember, is the slender brunette whose wedding was dramatically halted a year ago by Fife social services because they judged her too ‘stupid’ to understand the vows.

Four months later, the social services struck again. As Kerry breast-fed her three-day-old son Ben, council officials who feared she lacked the intelligence to be a good mother came into the maternity ward and took the child into care.
Already banned from marrying, Kerry, 18, and Mark, 26, were forced to leave the hospital without their newborn son.
Today, however, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that they have been reunited with their little boy and are now both living with him for the first time since he was born.
The authorities in Ireland, where they fled before the birth in the hope that they could keep their baby, have agreed that Ben can indeed stay with his parents.
This is not their only piece of happy news. Earlier this month, Mark and Kerry finally married in a tender ceremony at a hotel in County Waterford, defying those who said their relationship could never last.
‘All I ever wanted was to be married to Mark and to live a normal life with our son,’ said Kerry yesterday.

‘Now I just feel so contented and happy to be a proper family at last. I love being with Ben and being his mum. I have cried a lot over the past year but it’s only brought Mark and me closer.’
The couple’s resilience and the resourcefulness they have shown in fighting for the right to bring up their son together seems to make a mockery of the view that Kerry was too weak-minded to be a wife and mother.
Some would say it is difficult to see why Fife social services came to that conclusion in the first place.
Kerry’s friends accept that she was in the remedial class of her local state school, but point out that her educational difficulties were caused, in part, because she missed a lot of school time through treatment for a cleft palate.

They say she is chatty – indeed her new husband describes her as ‘bossy’ – and claim the root of the problem was that she found Scottish social workers so patronising that she refused to co-operate with them, often meeting their questions with silence.
Only in Ireland, where the professionals seemed more understanding, did she open up and talk about her situation, say her friends.
When the couple’s plight first came to public attention last year, there was a huge outcry at what seemed to be a monstrous abuse of power. Social workers had descended upon Kerry and Mark just 48 hours before they were due to get married, telling them their wedding would be unlawful.
In a highly unusual step, Dunfermline Register Office refused to sanction the marriage after Fife council wrote a letter of objection.
The removal of their child a few months was even more heart-wrenching and sparked a major campaign of protest on the internet.
Mark says he is still struggling to come to terms with the ‘nightmare’ they were put through. A gentle, mild-mannered young man, he says quietly: ‘I will never forget the day we were forced to hand Ben over. Kerry had just finished breast-feeding and both of us were in pieces. We were totally helpless to do anything about it.
‘To say we have been on a rollercoaster over the past year would be an understatement. It has been traumatic. And although now we are married and have Ben with us at last, I can’t help but feel bitter that we have had to go through all this.’
Many would have crumbled under the strain. For the past few months, Mark and Kerry have been forced to go through rigorous tests to prove they can be good parents.
It would appear their only ‘crime’ is that Kerry suffers from mild learning difficulties, although the true extent of these has always been a matter of contention.
Indeed, Mark and Kerry claim she has never undergone any official psychological assessment and, before having Ben, she successfully worked as a childcare assistant in a school.
Although no one is pretending she is academically gifted, to meet her is to encounter a lively young woman in the mould of any other young mum. Certainly, it is hard to fathom why Fife social services reached such a damning verdict.
The authorities first took a formal interest in Kerry when, at the age of just nine months, her parents handed her to the care of her grandmother, who brought her up overseen by Fife social services.
Even so, there was little to distinguish Mark and Kerry from any other young couple. When she became unexpectedly pregnant they were pleased rather than concerned. They had organised a white wedding in church, bought a dress and rings, arranged the reception and were eagerly anticipating their big day.
Mark recalls: ‘We were about to go out and make a few final arrangements for our wedding when we heard a frantic rapping at the front door.
‘When we opened it, two social workers burst in and told us that the marriage was illegal because Kerry has learning difficulties. They said she did not possess the capacity to make such a decision.’
Then came the second bombshell – their baby would be removed at birth. Once again, social workers believed her learning difficulties could lead to the baby suffering ‘emotional harm’.
‘It was as if I didn’t matter as a father,’ recalls Mark.

‘By stopping our wedding, social workers had taken away my rights as the baby’s dad. The fact that I would always be there to look after Ben as well didn’t seem to make any difference.’
He now believes that Fife social services had made up their minds that Kerry would not be able to keep the baby even before they had assessed her as a parent.
Because of this, days later the couple made the heart-wrenching decision to flee the UK and go to Ireland because they believed Irish social workers would prove more sympathetic.
Kerry expertly cradles Ben on her lap and as she talks it is clear that he enjoys the sound of his mother’s voice.

‘I’m shy when I first speak to people,’ she says by way of explanation of her reticence to speak to Fife social workers.
‘It’s only when I’ve known people for a long time that I am happy speaking to them.
‘I didn’t want to leave Fife – I’ve lived there all my life. All my friends and family are still there. I didn’t want to leave them.

But at the same time I’d been told my baby would be taken into care at birth and, naturally, I was going to do anything to stop that from happening.’
After tearful goodbyes to family and friends, the couple fled the UK with just £200, a suitcase of clothes and a bag of sandwiches made by Kerry.
Thankfully, a benefactor provided a rented house for them in Waterford. This generosity came just in time – ten days later, on January 15, Kerry went into labour and at 8.41pm gave birth to Ben, a healthy 7lb 3oz.

For three days, like any other new parents, the couple were on cloud nine. Kerry took to breast-feeding and close friends and family who knew where they were sent congratulations cards.
There was more trouble in store, however. The Irish authorities had discovered from Kerry’s medical records that social workers in Fife had an interest in her.
Mark later found out that Irish officials who contacted Fife were told that Kerry’s ‘disability’ could put Ben at risk of physical or emotional neglect. As a result, Irish social workers were duty-bound to act.
Mark and Kerry were utterly unprepared when, at 9.15am on January 19, they were forced to hand over their baby. They just had time to tell Ben they loved him and give him a kiss before he was taken away.
‘Coming home without Ben was awful,’ says Kerry.

‘Neither of us could stop crying. We just didn’t know what to do with ourselves. My body ached for my baby. I produced so much milk for him, which I would give to social workers so they could feed him.’
Over the next two weeks the couple barely saw Ben. Indeed on the few occasions they were allowed to visit him there were tearful exchanges with social workers. Kerry was upset to see Ben with a dummy and angry that he was being bottle-fed with formula milk.
Even when mother and baby were reunited at a special residential home, Mark had to drive for 90 minutes to get there.
Mark says: ‘Kerry and I were apart and I couldn’t see Ben that often. We just longed to be a normal family – to play on the beach, take him for walks in the park and tuck him up in his own bed.’
More recently they have been allowed to see him without the presence of a social worker. Then, last Wednesday, the Irish courts lifted many of the restrictions, meaning they were finally allowed to take Ben home and care for him themselves.
Mark is reluctant to criticise Irish social services.

‘Having been told by Fife that they feared Kerry could cause Ben “emotional harm”, I can see that they found themselves in a difficult position where they were forced to act,’ he says.
‘We had to prove that Fife social services’ concerns were groundless. Yes, Kerry does have some learning difficulties – the way she sees everything in such a black-and-white way is one of the reasons why I adore her – and she does need help with Ben. But it doesn’t mean she should have the right to be a mum taken away from her.’
He says that neither he nor Kerry regret leaving the UK and that, after the way they have been treated, they have no plans to return.
‘I believe that, had we stayed in the UK, our lives would have been ruined,’ he says. ‘We would have been forbidden to marry, and Kerry would have continued to be treated as a single mum with learning difficulties rather than an individual with a right to a normal life.
‘Although our baby was taken in Ireland, at least they looked at us as individuals rather than making a blanket assumption that Kerry wouldn’t be a good parent.’
It is proof of how much this couple have touched people’s hearts that, when they married two weeks ago, some of the 30 guests were officials involved in their case.
‘Right up to the last minute I expected someone to turn up and say we couldn’t go through with it,’ says Mark.

‘The registrar knew our wedding had been refused in the UK and it was up to her to decide if in fact Kerry was intelligent enough to understand the vows.
‘The registrar did have the right, under Irish law, to stop it again.Thankfully she had no hesitation in taking us through our vows and the wedding went without a hitch.’
The guest of honour was Ben, now nine months old and a lively bundle of mischief. Although clearly angry at their treatment, neither Mark nor Kerry show any bitterness. Instead they are absorbed in the happiness of making a home on the beautiful shoreline of Waterford.
‘He’s a big baby for his age,’ says Kerry proudly.

‘He’s also very contented and he’s always laughing. He can crawl fast and already he’s pulling himself to stand and trying to walk.
‘I do most of the caring for Ben. I’m the one who gets up in the night, who changes his nappies and sorts his food. I usually give him his bath in the evening and try to keep to a definite bedtime, so he is usually tucked up by 8pm.’
Mark’s view is equally straightforward: ‘We simply want to move on. We want to put this behind us and enjoy being a family at last.’

Read more:

Kerry and Ben Reunited!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ten Things You May Not Know About Baby Formula

The use of baby formula as the primary method of infant feeding has exploded in popularity over the past few decades. Formula has become increasingly healthier in recent years with the addition of chemicals like DHA and lutein, both of which are naturally found in human milk. In spite of these advancements, there is some information that the manufacturers aren't advertising. Take a look at these ten little-known facts about infant formula.

1. The linings of formula cans contain bisphenol-A, or BPA, a plastics chemical which mimics the female hormone estrogen. Exposure to BPA can potentially cause reproductive problems and early puberty. Experts are concerned that the chemical may leach into the formula and be ingested by infants, who are far more vulnerable to adverse effects from contaminants than adults. Liquid and ready-to-feed formulas are more susceptible to this leaching than powdered formulas. The FDA reports that they are currently accepting applications for alternative substances with which to line formula cans; however, they do not recommend changing a child's feeding habits based solely on this concern.

2. Feeding an infant formula can increase the child's risk of developing food allergies and inflammatory bowel disease, a disease which encompasses the chronic conditions ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, according to new research performed by nutritionist Sharon Donovan at the University of Illinois. The study also shows an increased risk for asthma in formula-fed infants. These conditions result from the formula's inability to activate the appropriate immune system genes within the digestive tract. Without the activation of these genes, a child's digestive system is left vulnerable to a lifetime of adverse effects.

3. It is impossible to produce sterile powdered infant formula. According to the World Health Organization, current technology does not allow for powdered formula to be manufactured in such a way that it is sterile, even when it is produced within current hygienic guidelines.

4. Baby formula may be contaminated with the harmful bacteria enterobacter sakazakii and salmonella enterica. Since powdered formula cannot be manufactured to be sterile, these bacteria can be present and cause severe illness in children. The WHO reports that, although these organisms cannot thrive in dry formula, they can survive in it for up to and possibly exceeding one year. Once the formula is mixed, it provides an ideal habitat for the growth of these illness-causing bacteria. In rare cases, infection with these pathogens can even cause a child's death.

5. Formula feeding increases a child's risk of childhood obesity and of developing diabetes. A White House study, released by first lady Michelle Obama in May 2010, explains that babies who are formula-fed are 22 percent more likely to be obese. Formula derived from cow's milk contains about twice as much protein as human milk. This excess protein results in excess insulin production and prolonged insulin response. Even well into childhood, children who were formula-fed as infants show low levels of the hormon leptin, which is known to "inhibit appetite and control body fatness."

6. Soy-based formulas contain plant estrogens which can cause a variety of reproductive issues. Soy formulas are an alternative for children with cow's milk allergies and for vegan families. While studies have shown that obesity and diabetes risks are lower for children who consume soy-based formulas, they are not without their own set of dangers. A study published by The Society for the Study of Reproduction in March 2010 found that newborn mice who were fed a formula containing the soy plant estrogen genistein once daily developed various reproductive problems, as well as abnormalities of the thymus gland. The study mimicked the level of genistein that would be found in a human infant who was regularly fed soy formula. It raises serious questions about the safety and long-term effects of soy-based formulas in infants.

7. The FDA does not test infant formulas prior to their marketing and sale. While the FDA inspects manufacturing facilities and performs quality tests on formulas once a year, they do not test infant formula to ensure that it meets nutritional and quality requirements before it is allowed to be sold. Instead, the FDA relies solely on the manufacturers' own reports that their products meet federal standards.

8. Infant formulas often contain perchlorate, the base chemical in solid rocket fuels. In March 2009, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a study which found perchlorate in 15 brands of infant formula. The EPA insists that the levels of the chemical found in formula pose no threat to infants. However, according to the CDC, the drinking water in 26 states contains high levels of perchlorate. If tap water and powdered baby formula, both containing the hazardous chemical, are mixed together, the levels may be high enough to cause serious harm to infants.

9. FDA testing has revealed that some baby formulas also contain the chemicals melamine and cyanuric acid. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has stated that these chemicals "can cause renal failure by production of insoluble melamine cyanurate crystals in renal tubules and/or calculi in kidneys, ureter, urethra or the urinary bladder." In other words, when these chemicals are present in baby formula, they can cause kidneys stones, kidney and urinary blockages and infections, and kidney failure. In extreme cases, complications of these conditions may result in the deaths of infants. The FDA performs tests for melamine and cyanuric acid in baby formulas, which can be viewed on their website.

10. Many brands of formula contain ingredients which are generally acknowledged to contain or produce monosodium glutamate, or MSG. The organization Truth in Labeling provides information from a Canadian study which found MSG, a dangerous neurotoxin, in at least five brands of baby formula. Although testing was performed only on Canadian products, all five companies manufacture and sell products in the United States as well. The organization also names ingredients from four different types of U.S. baby formula which are known to contain MSG or to produce it during processing. These ingredients include enzymatically hydrolyzed reduced minerals, casein hydrolysate, carrageenan, and maltodextrin.

Unfortunately, the companies that manufacture infant formula do not always tell the entire story. Strict guidelines are put in place to help ensure the safety of formula-fed infants, but unfortunately some problems have still arisen with these infant products. It is imperative that parents have all the information possible and that our society continues to demand higher and higher standards in the production of products for our children and babies.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Update on Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications: January 2010

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Infant Formula

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
FDA 101: Infant Formula

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Clinical Testing of Infant Formulas with Respect to Nutritional Suitability for Term Infants

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Guidelines Concerning Notification and Testing of Infant Formulas

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Frequently Asked Questions about FDA's Regulation of Infant Formula

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Domestic Infant Formula Testing Results

Amy Burkholder, CNN
Group Sounds Alarm on Infant Formula Cans

Thea Edwards & Wendy Hessler, Environmental Health News
Soy Formula Affects Reproductive Development in Mice

World Science & University of Illinois Staff
Why Is Breast Milk Best? It's in the Genes, Scientists Say

Elizabeth Simpson, The Virginian-Pilot
How the Fight against Flab Can Start before Birth

January W. Payne, U.S. News & World Report
5 Reasons That May Explain Why Type 1 Diabetes In on the Rise

U.S. News & World Report
Health Buss: Dropping Cancer Rates and Other Health News

Brian Hartman, ABC News
Rocket Fuel Chemical Found in Baby Formula

World Health Organization
Questions and Answers on Melamine

World Health Organization
Melamine and Cyanuric Acid: Toxicity, Preliminary Risk Assessment and Guidance on Levels in Food

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Melamine Health Impact Assessment

World Health Organization
Safe Preparation, Storage, and Handling of Powdered Infant Formula

Truth in Labeling
Infant Formula

Let's Move
Early Childhood

Biology of Reproduction
Acute and Chronic Effects of Oral Genistein Administration in Neonatal Mice

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Similac Recall: Beetles Concern Prompts Infant Formula To Be Recalled

WASHINGTON — Drugmaker Abbott Laboratories said Wednesday it is recalling millions of containers of its best-selling Similac infant formula that may be contaminated with insect parts.

The voluntary action affects up to 5 million Similac-brand powder formulas sold in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some Caribbean countries. The company said the products may contain a small beetle or larvae, which could cause stomach ache and digestion problems.

The recall does not affect any liquid formulas or other Abbott-brand products.

A company spokeswoman said Abbott uncovered the insects last week in one section of a manufacturing plant in Sturgis, Michigan.

"We immediately shut down that one area and began an investigation," said Abbott's Melissa Brotz. "We're in the process of resolving it now." Abbott manufactures Similac at several U.S. sites.

Brotz said the company has been consulting with the Food and Drug Administration, which determined there was no "immediate health risk" from the contamination.

Consumers can enter the lot number on their containers online to determine if they are subject to the recall. The products should be returned to Abbott for a full refund.

"Delivering anything less than the highest quality infant formula is unacceptable to us," said Brotz. "We will do whatever is necessary to maintain the trust of parents in the coming weeks."

The affected products were sold in plastic containers and various can sizes, including 8-ounce (227-gram), 12.4-ounce (352-gram) and 12.9-ounce (366-gram).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Babywearing and Breastfeeding Triplets!

My wonderful friend Nicole, mother of NINE children, including triplets, whom she is breastfeeding.

You can read Nicole's blog here: