Lead in bentonite clay-based toothpaste, is ANY amount safe?!

UPDATE: before you even read this, know that the whole reason this was written was my Son had a BLL (blood lead level) of 2, at the age of 3, after ~18 months of using Earthpaste & Poofy Organics bentonite-based toothpastes. WELL, my daughter, who has never used ANY toothpaste, came back with a BLL of 3 at the age of 1…. I’ve heard from SEVERAL parents who have had their kiddos tested, who’ve only ever used E.paste and/or Poofy, and they have not had elevated levels. It’s a very complex issue, but I’m back to believing that there is no risk involved in using a bentonite based toothpaste. That being said, read on…. 🙂

UPDATE #2, 5/3/16: Both of my kiddos had a vein draw lead test, my 5 & 3 year old came back less than 1, as good as I can hope for in this world we live in! All they’ve ever used for toothpaste has been bentonite-based from Poofy and Earthpaste. And I’ve heard from numerous, numerous others who’ve had test results of less than 1 as well, and who’ve only used bentonite-based as well….

As you all know (or most of you) I’ve been a very firm supporter of Earthpaste & Poofy Organics toothpaste for almost 2 years now. It’s the only toothpaste my Son (now 3) has used, other than a toothpowder for a few months before discovering these other toothpastes that I consider to be a fabulous alternative to fluoride, SLS, titanium dioxide- laden alternatives. Honestly, when I 1st started using them I wasn’t aware of the lead in the clay issue. Had I looked at the elemental analysis of the clay provided by Earthpaste on their website I would’ve seen that yes, it does contain lead, also aluminum, and a host of other elements as it’s gathered from within the earth. The research I did after learning that info all pointed to the fact that these elements were not absorbed by our body, and whole books have been written about how fabulous the clay is, and those who’d taken it as supplements did not have high levels of the elements that would indicate cause for concern. In the recent months Earthpaste has added a Prop 65 warning label, required by the state of CA (although Poofy doesn’t have one), which has resulted in many concerned emails from those new to it. Once everyone reads the info on why the label is there, just about everyone continues to use it without much concern (the explanation here: http://www.earthpaste.com/prop65/). Then someone shared this post by Lead Free America with me (http://leadsafeamerica.org/earthpaste/). Tamara calls out Earthpaste as one of the worst Greenwashers on the market, and you all know I don’t take greenwashing lightly & am on a mission to out green washers myself! You really need to read it for yourself, as well as the comments below, from Redmond, many from myself (both Jessica Brandt & Jess B are me) & from Tamara.

So, after reading her concerns I decided to have my Son tested. He was tested at 1 year & came back with a level 1 which I was told was great, and no concern. We hadn’t been back in since that time, and as I said he’s been using these toothpastes since he was ~18 months old. Also, as many kids do, he eats the stuff right off the brush, sometimes even squirting it right in his mouth from the tube. This never concerned me since all the info I can find on bentonite clay is that it’s great for you. So, the results…. After a year & a half of use, his level is up to a 2, which my doc said should be of no concern and was just fine. Yes, it did go up from a 1-2, but according to everything I’ve read, above 4 is start to be cause for concern, and after doing my own research I found this info which let me know the range can go up to 45 or more and in the 70’s-80’s limits were around 60 (to stay under)! Of course, when we know better, we do better, and there were many issues with levels that high & that is certainly off the charts in our day. This document says at a 0-4 there is very little lead in your system, and 2 is the average, above 10 requiring action: (https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2526.pdf). The CDC states that above a 5 is concerning, that used to be above a 10 (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/ACCLPP/blood_lead_levels.htm). “In the past, blood lead level tests below 10 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood may, or may not, have been reported to parents. The new, lower value means that more children likely will be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead. What has not changed is the recommendation for when to use medical treatment for children. These new recommendations do not change the recommendation that chelation therapy be considered when a child is found with a test result of greater than or equal to 45 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. ” (http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/acclpp/lead_levels_in_children_fact_sheet.pdf) So, nothing to worry about, right?! Well, not according to Tamara, from Lead Safe America. If you read the comments below her main post, she says I should be concerned with a 2. Here’s her most concerning (to me) comment: “Hi Jessica – 2 is not normal unfortunately – but many think it is. Natural pre-industrial level is a BLL of 0.016. For a child to have a BLL 2 that indicates a specific source of exposure in my book. I tested the redmond clay samples last week and they came in between 3 and 15 ppm, food items are considered toxic at parts per billion and even 3 ppm is not safe. Very not safe. Here’s an article about how a BLL 2 can impact a child. Please seriously consider not using this product anymore. Especially if you live in a newer or lead-safe home – it could be that this is his primary source of exposure. http://www.precaution.org/…/prn_low_level_lead.070712.htm” Her Son has damage from high levels of lead in his past, so I completely understand her mission to inform us & warn us of the dangers of lead. While I continue to research this myself I want to hear from you. What do you know about a level 2, does/would it concern you? Has your child been tested ever- especially interested in those testing after using Earthpaste or any clay based products being ingested?!

Again, I’ve researched this quite extensively & can’t find anything but fabulous remarks about clay being used, many take it as an oral supplement to improve gut health, like probiotics. At this time, we are continuing to use & love our Earthpaste & Poofy Organics (the only certified organic toothpaste made in the US). BUT, I feel this is a decision everyone needs to come to on their own, as with ANY other product. You need to be informed to make that decision, and I want to help facilitate getting ALL the info out there. I am not an expert in this area. If you are concerned, I’d suggest looking into some of the toothpowders available. Jack & Jill is a non-clay based option (made in Australia), but the research I’ve done points to it’s main ingredient, silica, being highly abrasive & to be avoided. I plan to re-test my Son in 6 months, and if the number rises more, I will re-evaluate my use of clay based products.   FOLLOW UP: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2014/07/22/what-ive-learned-about-lead/ PLEASE, share your feedback below, or in the FB thread we have started here: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=912142638801377&id=397517646930548 FB thread #2: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=912313912117583&id=397517646930548 FB thread #3: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=915541588461482&id=397517646930548

I’ve learned so much about lead since this post, you can read about many important issues here: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2014/07/22/what-ive-learned-about-lead/

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: My plan of attack to lower my Son’s lead level | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA
  2. ecofriendlymamausa
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 20:16:42

    I’ve received MANY comments like this: “I just wanted to touch base with you about my 3.5 year olds recent lead test. He’s been using and eating Earthpaste for the last 18 months or longer and his lead level was <1. I just wanted to share with you as It was nice and a bit comforting for me to see that. I really didn't and don't think the toothpaste is an issue but its nice to see it. Anyway thanks for all that you do!! I know I along with many other moms appreciate it!"

  3. Trackback: What I’ve learned about lead | Eco-friendly baby/family products MADE in USA
  4. Erin Ely
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 04:18:18

    you stated: “our Earthpaste & Poofy Organics (the only certified organic toothpaste made in the US)”

    This is actually not correct, neither Earthpaste or Poofy Organics toothpaste is certified organic. They can’t be certified organic because they both have more than 5% non-organic ingredients.

    In the case of Poofy Organics they use arrowroot powder, clay and bicarb soda and based on that, this product could not be certified organic. For a product to be certified organic it needs to be 95% or more organic ingredients EXCLUDING water, salt, minerals, clay.

    more than 95% certified organic ingredients. The remaining small percentage (up to 5%) must be naturally produced plant or mineral products with strict processing criteria, (e.g. absolutely no GMOs or synthetic chemicals)

    The same thing applies to the Earthpaste, it’s primarily water and clay so it can’t be certified organic.

    I’m not saying anything about the quality of these products, just making sure people understand that they are not certified organic.

    You can go to the National Organic Program website to read more about this if you want: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateN&navID=OrganicStandardsLinkNOPNationalList&rightNav1=OrganicStandardsLinkNOPNationalList&topNav=&leftNav=&page=NOPOrganicStandards&resultType=&acct=nopgeninfo

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Oct 01, 2014 @ 14:07:02

      Sorry, will clarify that, Earthpaste is NOT organic, Poofy indeed is! They use organic arrowroot powder, and bicarb is on the list of the 5% of non-organic things allowed to make it certified organic. I’m very aware of the NOP rules/regulations. Poofy IS USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC!!!

  5. Erin Ely
    Oct 01, 2014 @ 15:16:28

    That’s great, I’m glad you cleared that up. I could not see a certification logo on the poofy organics toothpaste on the image they have on the website and did not see that listed in their description for it. I see it in the description now. but I still don’t see the logo on the image?

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Oct 13, 2014 @ 21:15:10

      Sorry, I was wrong! I will be looking into this more & report back! The 2 bentonite-based tubes say USDA certified, but do not have the logo, and state certified by Baystate. So I will clear that up! The non-clay based fruit punch has the USDA logo, and for sure has 100% organic ingredients. I’m so glad you bought this up so I can clarify this!!

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Oct 15, 2014 @ 17:37:07

      OK, I finally have it completely cleared up. It USED to fall into the 70% & above threshold, and was labeled “made with organic oils”, and also used to be made with xylitol which is not available organic. They switched to organic Erythritol which is very, very similar to xylitol, and it now meets the 95% & above threshold so is now officially USDA certified organic, the bentonite is the only non-organic ingredient & falls in the 5% of other ingredients allowed by the USDA to still be considered certified organic. ALL new tubes bear the USDA label on the front, I found a new tube of the Cherry toddler toothpaste in my stash & it indeed has the logo on the front while my old tube does not. They have not had time to update the website photo, but all ingredients are listed correctly. Hope that all makes sense, and thanks for the questions so I could clear this up!

  6. Chelsea
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 13:53:44

    I am late to this article. I was finding articles about how to use clay to remove toxins including lead from the body. My son had low levels at 1 (below 3.3) and over 4 at his 2 year check up. I can’t find information. My Dr just tells me below 5 is no big deal. Your article and links have given me more information than anywhere else. Could you tell me… Does it build up or would he have had to been exposed within that 45 day half life?

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Oct 13, 2014 @ 21:11:11

      I wish I could answer that, as you know it’s an incredibly complicated topic! All I can say is find the source & remove it…. My very best wishes, this is a difficult situation for us parents!!

  7. MGC
    Dec 12, 2014 @ 06:07:16

    I just bought earthpaste and am wondering if I should be concerned if I am 22 years of age?

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Dec 13, 2014 @ 18:13:27

      That’s something you have to decide based on all the info. I use it without worry, as do many, many in the natural community. But I can’t say with 100% certainty that it’s got 0 risk….

  8. CJ
    Mar 16, 2015 @ 17:08:52

    I found your website after reading some “lead-based” comments on Amazon regarding Earth Paste and bentonite clay. I wanted to do some research and decide for myself, not listen to the fear-mongering nor the possibly-biased claims from clay producers.
    While I am not overly concerned about the minute traces of lead, it also caused me to wonder. If bentonite clay is supposed to bind to positive ions/particles in heavy metals and other toxins and draw them out then wouldn’t it bind to the traces of lead in its contents and prevent them from being absorbed anyway? Just a thought using common sense and logic. What do you think?

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Mar 16, 2015 @ 21:32:56

      Yes exactly! You said it very well, and many take it as an internal supplement to detox from heavy metals! It’s an example of how you can’t take everything at face value. Those that condemn it, don’t necessarily understand the full science behind it, in my opinion. One concern that has been brought up that I haven’t researched is what effect it has on those who have mercury fillings?

  9. erinely
    May 25, 2015 @ 15:42:42

    If you want to read more about this issue I suggest you go the website for Lead Safe America Foundation. http://leadsafeamerica.org/earthpaste/

    The Lead Safe America Foundation was started by Tamara Rubin after her kids were lead poisoned. While it’s not concerning for some this small amount of lead it can be for others. Tamara is in the process of creating a movie about this issue of lead in the environment called Mislead America.

    She is a fierce advocate for educating people about the hazards of lead even in small amounts. While for some people this might be a non-issue, when there are so many alternatives that are safe and non-toxic, why would you choose to knowingly expose your child to lead in their toothpaste? I guess that’s the curious thing about this to me.

    I know we can’t completely get away from toxins we are surrounded by them, but knowledge is power and if you can choose to limit your exposure why would you not?

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jun 09, 2015 @ 20:05:48

      OH yes, I’m a huge supporter of Tamara’s work, I’ve even sent my own items in for her to test! I share the results of the items she tests all the time. I do advocate for erring on the side of caution as a general rule. However I feel there is absolutely no risk in using bentonite toothpaste, quite the contrary, people have reversed tooth decay & healed cavities by using it.

    • ecofriendlymamausa
      Jun 09, 2015 @ 20:06:26

      Carrots & other root vegetables also contain trace amounts of lead….

  10. Emmi Buck
    Feb 02, 2016 @ 18:55:18

    You should check out Essential Oxygen Organic Brushing Rinse! The only organic oral care product 🙂 No lead, no micro-beads, no chemicals – just organic essential oils! http://bit.ly/OrganicBR

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