"Greens and whole foods powders and pills can provide a range of vitamins and natural antioxidants, and they tend to be high in fiber and low in fats, cholesterol and sodium," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. "However, being of made from plants and other natural ingredients, a product can be contaminated by the heavy metals or microbes that accumulate in those materials. It's not uncommon for a greens product to list more than a dozen plant-based ingredients -- if one is highly contaminated, it can spoil the entire product."
ConsumerLab.com found 6 mcg to 11.6 mcg of lead per daily serving in three products, representing significant and unnecessary exposure to lead, which is a toxin. One powdered product contained a high level of arsenic, a carcinogen. A single serving of the powder (to be mixed in a cup or half-cup of liquid) contained 24.3 mcg of arsenic, which is more than twice the amount allowed by the U.S. EPA in a liter (4.3 cups) of drinking water. Another product contained a large amount of bacteria, suggesting unsanitary handling. A product in pill form failed to break apart properly in disintegration testing.
The cost of a suggested serving of each ranged from just 37 cents to $4.75. Some of the most expensive products were those which failed testing.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online, providing immediate access to independent reviews of more than 1,000 products. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, which helps consumers evaluate online pharmacies and drug prices, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans.