Though most doctors agree that breastfeeding is the best choice after pregnancy, many doctors also agree that sometimes it’s just not the best option. If breastfeeding negatively impacts the health of the mother and infant, then formula is recommended. However, many formulas unfortunately contain some added ingredients that are not healthy.

Researchers have recently called for the formula manufactures to decrease the alarmingly high levels of aluminum they add to their products. In 2012, a group of professors and researchers from Keele University published a paper proving that infant formula contained too much aluminum to be healthy. Now, they have followed up their paper with a more in depth study that examined 30 of the most popular brands in the United Kingdom.

Formula from every company in the study showed that their products contained high levels of aluminum. The study was made public to warn parents, and it also listed the 30 companies that were tested, ranking them from lowest to highest in aluminum content so parents would be able to choose the company with the lowest levels possible if they were required to formula feed their infants.

Professor Chris Exley, lead author and researchers of the paper and study said that "clearly the manufacturers of infant formulas are not concerned about reducing their content of aluminum and the extensive use of aluminum-based packaging for infant formulas seems to confirm this.

"There are no adequate criteria upon which to base a safety level for aluminum in infant formulas and for this reason it would be sensible to take action to reduce the level of aluminum to a lowest practicable level.

"Since manufacturers are not willing to address the aluminum content of infant formulas it must now be time for the government, through the Food Standards Agency, to provide guidance on this matter and to indicate a maximum allowable concentration, for example, 50 ppb (50 mg/L) aluminum in the product at point of use, as a precautionary step to protect infants against chronic aluminum intoxication during the earliest weeks, months and years of their lives."

Ingesting too much aluminum can be extremely harmful especially for children because it takes much less aluminum to cause harm. If it’s not treated, excess aluminum or aluminum poisoning can affect growth rate in children and can cause lung problems, muscle weakness, anemia, speech problems, and diminished kidney function. If the exposure is prolonged enough, it can also cause bone and brain diseases.

Source: Keele University (2013, October 10). Action is needed now to lower the content of aluminium in infant formulas. ScienceDaily.