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CONSUMERLAB.COM FINDS LEAD CONTAMINATION REMAINS A PROBLEM FOR CERTAIN MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
— Lead Found in Iron, Magnesium and, Most Recently, Potassium Pills —

WHITE PLAINS, NY — July 16, 2002 — ConsumerLab.com announced today that its testing has shown that approximately 5% to 10 % of certain mineral supplements are contaminated with lead. The findings are based on ConsumerLab.com's evaluation over the past nine months of fifty-six supplements containing iron, magnesium, or potassium. More than eleven million bottles of these mineral supplements are purchased annually from U.S. supermarkets, drugstores, and mass merchandisers according to data from Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI).* ConsumerLab.com called on manufacturers to focus on this problem, which it considers an easily avoided health risk.

"Mineral supplements can be lifesaving, but should not increase the risk of lead poisoning," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., ConsumerLab.com's President. "Lead contamination has long been an issue with mineral supplements. We were pleased two years ago to find that none of the calcium supplements we tested had unacceptable lead levels. However, more recently, we have been disturbed to find lead contamination not only among potassium supplements, as reported today, but also in magnesium (reported in May) and iron supplements (reported last October). Manufacturers must focus on getting the lead out of all supplements — which can easily be done."

In its Product Review of Potassium Supplements released today, ConsumerLab.com found lead contamination in one of the eighteen products tested. If used to treat potassium deficiency, a daily dose of the contaminated product would contain about 10 to 20 mcg (micrograms) of lead. Lead exposure is particularly dangerous for fetuses, infants, young children, and pregnant or lactating women because lead can adversely affect children's neurobehavioral development and cognitive function. To safely protect against toxic effects of lead, daily consumption of lead from food should not exceed 6 mcg per day for children 6 and under, 15 mcg for older children, and 25 mcg for pregnant or lactating women. In other adults (whose lead consumption should not exceed 75 mcg per day) lead can cause elevated blood pressure, anemia, and adversely affect the nervous and reproductive systems. In the U.S., it has been estimated that lead intake from dietary sources is about 1 mcg to 3 mcg of lead per day.

As previously reported by ConsumerLab.com, one of nineteen iron supplements and two of nineteen magnesium supplements were found contaminated with lead. Other problems, such as too little or too much mineral, were also found among some products.

The full list the products that passed ConsumerLab.com's testing, as well as information on buying and using these products, are now available at www.consumerlab.com. The Web site provides reviews of 32 important vitamins, minerals, herbal and non-herbal supplements, and of nutrition bars, powders, and drinks. Other reviews scheduled for release in coming months include Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids from evening primrose, borage and flaxseed oils, garlic, probiotics, and sexual enhancement supplements. ConsumerLab.com's Guide to Buying the Best Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements is scheduled for publication later this year.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Individual subscription to ConsumerLab.com is available online. Parties interested in purchasing group subscriptions, technical reports, licensing content, or requesting testing of additional products may contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at lisa.sabin@consumerlab.com.

*IRI figure does not include sales from Wal-Mart stores.

Copyright ConsumerLab.com, LLC, 2002. All rights reserved.



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