Among 21 multivitamin products for adults and children independently selected and tested by ConsumerLab.com, problems were found with more than half -- including unacceptably high levels of lead, and too much or too little of a particular ingredient.
Only 10 of the 21 products tested met their claims and other quality standards, according to ConsumerLab.com.
The company, based in White Plains, New York, is privately held and provides consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. According to the company, it is neither owned by nor has a financial interest in any companies that make, distribute or sell consumer products.
n a telephone interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com, said one of the most serious problems was a women's multivitamin that contained 15.3 micrograms of lead per daily dose. This is more than 10 times the amount of lead allowed without a warning label in the state of California, the only state to regulate lead in supplements.
"There is lead in small amounts in many foods and drink," Cooperman said, "but the amount of lead in this multivitamin was more than you'd be exposed to from all the lead you are exposed to every day for about 5 days, and you'd be getting that every day from just the daily dose of this multivitamin."
Another "disturbing finding," Cooperman said, was a children's vitamin that contained 216 percent of its labeled amount of vitamin A -- an amount far in excess of the "upper tolerable intake level for kids under the age of 9," Cooperman said. "Young kids should definitely be avoiding that amount of vitamin A in the retinol form," he said.
Another multivitamin product -- a strip that dissolves on the tongue -- contained none of its claimed vitamin A; four other products, including a liquid product, came up short by 15 percent to 46 percent in amounts of vitamin A or folic acid.
"Several products had trouble breaking apart; they wouldn't release their ingredients," Cooperman said. These products may pass through the body without being fully utilized.
I am so sick of big companies getting away with doing whatever they want. These are vitamins that families take to increase their health - not decrease it.