SpexCertiPrep, a laboratory standards company, just released a poster-type abstract of a soon to be published paper titled “Trace Metal Analysis of Commercial Pet Food for Toxic Metals by ICP and ICP-MS.” You’re not going to believe what was found in some pet foods. This is certainly one of the most shocking pieces of pet food information I’ve ever received.
Before I get to the terrible news, No – we do not know what foods were tested, nor will we know once the paper completes peer review and is published (expected to be early 2011). The pet food names will not be published from this study – ever. I don’t like it either, so don’t shoot the messenger. And don’t be angry at the testing facility (SpexCertiPrep). This is standard procedure. This company did us a HUGE favor by testing pet food in the first place; their findings will (should) shake the foundation of commercial pet food. To anyone that can’t understand (you don’t have to like it, but you do need to understand) that this is how things are done, I’ll be glad to accept a $1 million donation from you and supervise the testing of hundreds of brands of dog foods and cat foods and make the results public (the $1 million wouldn’t cover legal fees when the pet food names and test results would be made public – add at least another $3 million for legal costs). Until this happens, be grateful we have this information and lets nudge a Veterinary School to acquire a government grant to do further testing and scream from our rooftops at our Representatives in Congress. Again, please don’t shoot the messenger.
My sincere thank you to Ralph Obernauf, President of Spex CertiPrep to providing this information to Pet Owners prior to the official publication of the paper AND for testing pet food. Thanks as well to Patricia Atkins, Lazlo Ernyei and William Driscoll, partners in this pet food testing. Without your testing, and without your providing this information to the public (and to TruthaboutPetFood.com), we would still be in the dark as to what some commercial pet foods actually contain. Here’s hoping your testing results will force the safety of pet food to be closely examined by regulatory authorities.
The abstract states the dilemma of pet owners very clearly. “The quality of many of the ingredients used for pet food is often considered to be inferior or unfit for human consumption. “Premium” brands claim to have superior ingredients and quality. Claims of the quality of premium ingredients do not offer data as to the potential toxicity of elements which may be found in those ingredients. The purpose of our study was to examine pet foods from various sources to determine if they contained potentially toxic elements and if high quality ingredients equated to less toxic elements present in the food.”
“This study is not a comprehensive study of all potential contaminants found in pet foods. The random samples tested were deemed to be snapshots of the overall levels of toxic elements that could be consumed by pets.” Fifty-nine pet food samples were donated by Spex CertiPrep and SamplePrep employees all purchased from local New Jersey supermarkets, chain stores, budget stores and pet supply stores. Prices of pet foods tested ranged from $0.02 cents per ounce to $0.42 cents per ounce. Thirty-one dry food samples were tested; 18 dry dog food and 13 dry cat food. Twenty-seven wet pet food samples were tested; 13 wet dog food and 14 wet cat food.
Both wet and dry pet foods, each sample, were ground to a even consistency. Canned human foods, tuna, sardines, and chicken, were ground and tested as well for comparison. Below is each element discovered in pet foods, the average part per billion (ppb) found in pet foods tested and ppb of human food tested. A toxicity risk of each element was taken from Wikipedia.org.
As – Arsenic.
Pet Food Average 95 ppb
Pet Food Max 290 ppb
Human Tuna – 14 ppb
Human Sardines – 30 ppb
Human Chicken – 4.4 ppb.
Toxicity – “Arsenic and many of its compounds are especially potent poisons.”
Be – Beryllium.
Pet Food Average 8.6 ppb
Pet Food Max 74 ppb
Human Tuna 6.1 ppb
Human Sardines – 3.7 ppb
Human Chicken – 2.9 ppb
Toxicity – “According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), beryllium and beryllium compounds are Category 1 carcinogens; they are carcinogenic to both animals and humans.”
Cd – Cadmium.
Pet Food Average 42 ppb
Pet Food Max 130 ppb
Human Tuna 36 ppb
Human Sardines 14 ppb
Human Chicken 1.8 ppb
Toxicity – “The most dangerous form of occupational exposure to cadmium is inhalation of fine dust and fumes, or ingestion of highly soluble cadmium compounds. Inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes can result initially in metal fume fever but may progress to chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and death.”
Co – Cobalt.
Pet Food Average 200 ppb
Pet Food Max 920 ppb
Human Tuna 23 ppb
Human Sardines 44 ppb
Human Chicken 25 ppb
Toxicity – “After nickel and chromium, cobalt is a major cause of contact dermatitis and is considered carcinogenic.”
Cr – Chromium.
Pet Food Average 480 ppb
Pet Food Max 2500 ppb
Human Tuna 25 ppb
Human Sardines 41 ppb
Human Chicken 20 ppb
Toxicity – “The acute toxicity of chromium(VI) is due to its strong oxidational properties. After it reaches the blood stream, it damages the kidneys, the liver and blood cells through oxidation reactions.”
Cs – Caesium.
Pet Food Average 9.0 ppb
Pet Food Max 28 ppb
Human Tuna 14 ppb
Human Sardines 16 ppb
Human Chicken 2.7 ppb
Toxicity – “Caesium compounds are rarely encountered by most persons but most caesium compounds are mildly toxic because of chemical similarity of caesium to potassium.”
Hg – Mercury.
Pet Food Average 37 ppb
Pet Food Max 560 ppb
Human Tuna 89 ppb
Human Sardines – ND (non detectable)
Human Chicken – ND
Toxicity – “Mercury and most of its compounds are extremely toxic and are generally handled with care; in cases of spills involving mercury (such as from certain thermometers or fluorescent light bulbs) specific cleaning procedures are used to avoid toxic exposure.”
Ms – Molybdenum.
Pet Food Average 550 ppb
Pet Food Max 2300 ppb
Human Tuna 6.2 ppb
Human Sardines 9.3 ppb
Human Chicken 23 ppb
Toxicity – “High levels of molybdenum can interfere with the body’s uptake of copper, producing copper deficiency. Molybdenum prevents plasma proteins from binding to copper, and it also increases the amount of copper that is excreted in urine.”
Ni – Nickel.
Pet Food Average 980 ppb
Pet Food Max 3200 ppb
Human Tuna 180 ppb
Human Sardines 380 ppb
Human Chicken 950 ppb
Toxicity – “Exposure to nickel metal and soluble compounds should not exceed 0.05 mg/cm³ in nickel equivalents per 40-hour work week. Nickel sulfide fume and dust is believed to be carcinogenic, and various other nickel compounds may be as well.”
Pb – Lead.
Pet Food Average 210 ppb
Pet Food Max 5900 ppb
Human Tuna 7.2 ppb
Human Sardines 11 ppb
Human Chicken 3.2 ppb
Toxicity – “Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage nervous connections (especially in young children) and cause blood and brain disorders. Long-term exposure to lead or its salts (especially soluble salts or the strong oxidant PbO2) can cause nephropathy, and colic-like abdominal pains. Lead can affect almost every organ and system in the body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. Exposure to high lead levels can severely damage the brain and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death.”
Sb – Antimony.
Pet Food Average 75 ppb
Pet Food Max 970 ppb
Human Tuna 0.90 ppb
Human Sardines 1.6 ppb
Human Chicken 1.2 ppb
Toxicity – “Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic, and the effects of antimony poisoning are similar to arsenic poisoning. Inhalation of antimony dust is harmful and in certain cases may be fatal; in small doses, antimony causes headaches, dizziness, and depression. Larger doses such as prolonged skin contact may cause dermatitis; otherwise it can damage the kidneys and the liver, causing violent and frequent vomiting, and will lead to death in a few days.”
Se – Selenium.
Pet Food Average 330 ppb
Pet Food Max 1500 ppb
Human Tuna 360 ppb
Human Sardines 320 ppb
Human Chicken 147 ppb
Toxicity – “Although selenium is an essential trace element, it is toxic if taken in excess. Exceeding the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of 400 micrograms per day can lead to selenosis. This 400 microgram (µg) Tolerable Upper Intake Level is based primarily on a 1986 study of five Chinese patients who exhibited overt signs of selenosis and a follow up study on the same five people in 1992. The Chinese people who suffered from selenium toxicity ingested selenium by eating corn grown in extremely selenium-rich stony coal (carbonaceous shale). A dose of selenium as small as 5 milligram (5000 µg) per day can be lethal for many humans.”
Sn – Tin.
Pet Food Average 350 ppb
Pet Food Max 9400 ppb
Human Tuna 98 ppb
Human Sardines 28 ppb
Human Chicken 0 5.8 ppb
Toxicity – “Tin plays no known natural biological role in humans, and possible health effects of tin are a subject of dispute. Tin itself is not toxic but most tin salts are.”
Th – Thorium.
Pet Food Average 14 ppb
Pet Food Max 87 ppb
Human Tuna – ND
Human Sardines 0.10 ppb
Human Chicken 0.08 ppb
Toxicity – “Natural thorium decays very slowly compared to many other radioactive materials, and the alpha radiation emitted cannot penetrate human skin meaning owning and handling small amounts of thorium, such as a gas mantle, is considered safe. Exposure to an aerosol of thorium can lead to increased risk of cancers of the lung, pancreas and blood, as lungs and other internal organs can be penetrated by alpha radiation. Exposure to thorium internally leads to increased risk of liver diseases. The element has no known biological role.”
Tl – Thallium.
Pet Food Average 4.0 ppb
Pet Food Max 10 ppb
Human Tuna 1.0 ppb
Human Sardines 3.1 ppb
Human Chicken 1.8 ppb
Toxicity – “Thallium and its compounds are extremely toxic, and should be handled with great care. Contact with skin is dangerous, and adequate ventilation should be provided when melting this metal. Thallium(I) compounds have a high aqueous solubility and are readily absorbed through the skin. Thallium is a suspected human carcinogen. For a long time thallium compounds were easily available as rat poison. This fact and that it is water soluble and nearly tasteless led to frequent intoxications by accident or by criminal intent.”
U – Uranium.
Pet Food Average 91 ppb
Pet Food Max 860 ppb
Human Tuna 0.20 ppb
Human Sardines 6.0 ppb
Human Chicken 0.20 ppb
Toxicity – “Normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, heart, and other systems can be affected by uranium exposure, because, besides being weakly radioactive, uranium is a toxic metal. Uranium is also a reproductive toxicant. Uranyl (UO2+) ions, such as from uranium trioxide or uranyl nitrate and other hexavalent uranium compounds, have been shown to cause birth defects and immune system damage in laboratory animals.”
V – Vanadium.
Pet Food Average 280 ppb
Pet Food Max 7400 ppb
Human Tuna 6.2 ppb
Human Sardines 5.2 ppb
Human Chicken 5.6 ppb
Toxicity – “All vanadium compounds should be considered to be toxic.”
“Toxic Element Exposure for Cats”
“A 10-lb cat eating 1 cup a day (100 g) of dry food or 1 small can of wet food (175 g) with the maximum contamination would be consuming about:
29 mcg (micrograms) Arsenic (greater than 20 times Reference Dosage limit)
13 mcg Cadmium (greater than 3 times the Reference Dosage limit)
17 mcg Mercury (greater than 30 times the Reference Dosage limit)
42 mcg Uranium (greater than 3 times the Reference Dosage limit)”
“Dry cat food contained more contamination which exceeded human Reference Dosage guidelines than wet cat food.”
“Toxic Element Exposure for Dogs”
“A 50-lb dog eating 5 cups (500 g) a day of dry food or 1 large can of wet food (375 g) with the maximum contamination would be consuming about:
124 mcg (micrograms) of Arsenic (greater than 20 times Reference Dosage limit)
65 mcg of Cadmium (greater than 2 times Reference Dosage limit)
280 mcg of Mercury (greater than 120 times Reference Dosage limit)
5 mcg of Thallium (greater than 2 times Reference Dosage limit)
430 mcg Uranium (greater than 5 times Reference Dosage limit)
1200 mcg Vanadium (greater than 6 times Reference Dosage limit)”
“The average dry dog food exceed the Reference Dosage levels for many compounds and wet dog food had fewer results exceeding the human Reference Dosage limits.”
“Dry dog food had the largest number of significant toxic metals overall.”
“Seven samples of pet food contained significant amounts of Uranium from 500 to 2000 ppb.”
To view the ‘poster’ provided to TruthaboutPetFood.com from Spex CertiPrep, Click Here.
Horrifying isn’t it? What can we do? I wish I knew exactly.
The most powerful information provided to us in the abstract (poster) preview, is the comparison made to canned human foods. All human foods tested significantly lower than the average results for pet foods. We can safely assume this means that many of those ‘human grade’ claims stated by some pet foods are nothing more than words. Almost all of the pet foods that tested minimal ppb (parts per billion) were lower than what human foods tested at. From this we can safely assume there are some high quality pet foods out there.
However, without a detailed testing of each and every brand, each and every batch produced, we don’t know for certain who these high quality pet foods are. Will each pet food company provide pet owners with these detailed testing results from an independent lab for every batch produced? Highly unlikely. However, the FDA and AAFCO could perform random detailed testing of pet foods; again, highly unlikely they will, but they could.
This pet food testing information needs to be read by every Representative in Congress. My suggestion would be for everyone to send the results in a letter to each of your Representatives asking them what are their intentions to improve pet food safety (clearly five times the limit of Uranium isn’t a healthy or safe pet food). A continuous loud scream needs to be heard in Washington from Pet Owners. Things won’t change until we demand the changes from those in charge. Congress is the FDA’s boss. Congress needs to meet with administration of FDA (and AAFCO for that matter) and ask them why FDA Compliance policies allow pet food to violate Federal law AND ask FDA administration how in the world five times the limit of Uranium, 20 times the limit of Arsenic, and 120 times the limit of Mercury could be found in any pet food.
This pet food testing information needs to be sent to every news media; local and national. Print this article (for toxicity information) and the abstract provided by Spex CertiPrep and hand deliver or mail to every news media in your town. Newspapers, television, radio, and local magazines. Note: The information provided to us from Spex CertiPrep is an actual poster. Thus when printing it is very small and difficult to read. For printing, enlarge the document and print in sections or if you can send to all as an attachment to an email.
Its up to all of you/us. Don’t sit back and just be horrified at the results. Write your Representatives in Congress. Contact your local media. The ground work has been done by Spex CertiPrep. Now its up to us.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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