Natural Hair Product Causes Lead Poisoning?!?!
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement on Thursday, January 28, 2016 warning consumers to not use the product “Bentonite Me Baby” by Alikay Naturals™. This warning came after the FDA performed a laboratory examination of the product and found that it had elevated levels of lead. Contact with lead can cause lead poisoning which can damage the immune system, kidneys, central nervous system, and can cause death.
Alikay Naturals™ is a popular hair and skin care line that is sold in a plethora of retail outlets including Target, Sally’s Beauty, Amazon.com, and Bed Bath and Beyond. Their “Bentonite Me Baby” product’s sole ingredient is pure calcium bentonite clay which is used as a skin and hair detoxifier. Calcium bentonite clay is a natural substance that is created from hardened volcanic ashes. It contains traces of various elements including lead. Lead is present in many natural elements including the air, water, and food. The FDA recommends that the intake of 75 mcg of lead daily for adults and 6 mcg for children is safe. The FDA did not state the amount of lead that was found in the product and I cannot find a reliable source of what exactly is the amount of lead in calcium bentonite clay.
As of now, Alikay Naturals™ “Bentonite Me Baby” cannot be found on their website. Their official public statement states that the product can be safely used topically and should not be ingested. However, the product’s label states that it can be taken internally and that it “Works to aid in colon and detox cleansing to remove harmful toxins from the body, which helps many things including raising energy levels.”
I personally use many skin and hair products that contain bentonite clay. Alikay Naturals™ are not the first brand to use bentonite clay in their products nor are they the first company to come under scrutiny by the FDA for having products with high levels of lead. However, it is important for us to do our own research on products to determine if they are safe because unfortunately we cannot expect brands (nor the FDA) to do that for us.
I think that Alikay Naturals™ were unintentionally negligent with this product’s labeling. Manufacturing a medicinal product that is not approved by the FDA is required by law to include on the labeling the phrase “This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease”. That disclaimer could have prevented the unwanted publicity and confusion.
Update 1/30/2016: The Alikay Naturals “Bentonite Me Baby” is not available for purchase at Target (online and in-store) and Amazon.com.
Ammina Rose is a hair and beauty enthusiast from Chicago, Illinois. She created Lovin’ Our Textures on the belief that all hair is beautiful no matter the texture or style preference. Follow her hair journey from Relaxed to Natural on Youtube and Instagram.