Sayer Ji
Founder of

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get two FREE E-Books

Our newsletter serves 250,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Easy Turmeric recipes + The Dark Side of Wheat

Why Is Pesticide Used As An Ingredient In Infant Formula?

Why Is Pesticide Used As An Ingredient In Infant Formula?

Why is cupric sulfate -- a known herbicide, fungicide and pesticide -- being used in infant formula? And why is it displayed proudly on product labels as a presumably nutritious ingredient?

Used to kill fungus, aquatic plants and roots of plants, parasitic infections in aquarium fish and snails, as well as algae and bacteria such as Escherichia coli, cupric sulfate hardly sounds fit for human consumption, much less for infants. 

Indeed, infants are all too often looked at as "miniature adults" from the perspective of toxicological risk assessments, rather than what they are: disproportionately (if not exponentially) more susceptible to the adverse effects of environmental exposures. Instead of reducing or altogether eliminating avoidable infant chemical exposures (the precautionary principle), the chemical industry-friendly focus is always on determining "an acceptable level of harm" – as if there were such at thing!

It boggles the imagination how cupric sulfate ended up in infant formula, as well as scores of other consumer health products, such as Centrum and One-A-Day vitamins?

After all, it is classified, according to the Dangerous Substance Directive (one of the main European Union laws concerning chemical safety), as "Harmful (Xn), Irritant (Xi) and Dangerous for the environment (N)."

Moreover, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that the warning signal "DANGER" appear on the labels of all copper sulfate end-products containing 99% active ingredient in crystalline form.

The Material Safety Data Sheet for Cupric Sulfate clearly states, in 'Section 3: Hazards Identification," that it has the following adverse health effects:

"Potential Acute Health Effects: Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation.

Potential Chronic Health Effects: CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Mutagenic for mammalian somatic cells. TERATROGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENT TOXICITY: Not available. The substance may be toxic to kidneys, liver. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage."

In 'Section 7: Handling and Storage" the following precautions must be taken:

"Do not ingest. Do not breathe dust. Wear suitable protective clothing. In case of insufficient ventilation, wear suitable respiratory equipment. If ingested, seek medical advice immediately and show t he container or the label. Avoid contact with skin and eyes. Keep away from incompatibles such as metals, alkalis."

Cleary we have a problem here.  Cupric sulfate is used in most mass market infant formulas. Even Similac's "sensitive" formula contains the ingredient:

Similac Sensitive - Infant Formula with Iron

Similac Sensitive Ingredients


Could this be one reason why infant formula has been linked to over 50 adverse health effects, both short and long term, in infants given it in place of breast milk?  The common explanation/claim is that infant formula isn't intrinsically harmful, rather, breast milk and breastfeeding is just healthier.  I believe this perspective in untenable, given the problems with cupric sulfate, and dozens of other questionable ingredients being used in these products, such as petroleum-derived and chirally inverted dl-alpha tocopherol (synthetic vitamin E), zinc sulfate, sodium selenate, manganese sulfate, etc.

For additional research on the inherent problems associated with the use of chemicals in infant formula, take a look at our evaluation of another Similac product.

Or, take a look at the "Organic" infant formula by Earth's Best:, which is surprisingly not that much better.

Related Article

Chemicals Used As "Nutrients" In "USDA Organic" Infant Formula

Additional Research

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Be Careful Not to Tell Your Doctor

We fed our child an organic formula only to have CPS come and take him away.  Make sure you tell your doctor you're feeding your infant Similac. 

cupric sulfate in formula

Dear Sir, While I abhor all infant formula for-various- proven reasons- I could not appreciate your last article on cupric sulfate in formula. As it is not stated at all how much is in the formula one can't draw conclusions as you did, I suppose. Copper in itself is a vital mineral as you know and is in itself not toxic but CAN be highly toxic totally dependent on the amount consumed. As similac did not state anything of the amount we may not judge them on this. The following source seems misplaced here in my eyes and not relevant at all in this connection: "Potential Acute Health Effects: Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of ingestion, of inhalation. Again there are plenty other reasons to condemn formula but I think your argument was far-fetched . I would love to receive your commentary if you think I am mistaken or read your remarks wrong. Would like to end with my big appreciation for the work [enormous!] you are publishing for all our benefit. Be healthy and strong to continue this!


First, thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback and further the discussion.

My philosophy on this subject is that there are some compounds which humans should take great lengths to avoid, cupric sulfate being one of them. Although it can be argued, that facing a severe copper deficiency state, cupric sulfate is better than no copper, I do not think that justifies using it at any dose when no such severe state exists. 

Short answer and maybe a useful addition

thank you for your reply.

I think it would be fair to ask similac about the amount of cupric sulf they use.

If it is a 'homeopathic amount" then I would forget about it......there are really so many other good reasons to "condemn" the use of formulas ,but in my opinion you choose maybe? the least important one. Let forget about this, I don't need the "last word" on this.

I know that -from old -[and i have used it for some 40 years ] a one in 500 dilution of copper sulphate to be an extreme effective prevention for recurrent bact. infections like recurrent furunculosis.

Just now and then wetting a tiny bit of the solution just under the nose and at the perineum has been shown in old medical literature [especially Dutch] to be most useful for this purpose

As it seems these places are the most colonized with [resistant] staph's and others.

For impetigo it can do wonders.........i think the toxicity in these cases can be ignored.

To restate : I highly appreciate your wonderful work and energy and if i  now and then a send a remark ,take this as a sign that your articles are eagerly read.

to the 2 messages above

To the 2 people who commented above.
The 1st one, did not use a proper and respectful title.

The second one is not better.  I hope for you that you put chemical components in your children mouth: water (H2O), food, everything is made of chemical elements! Second I do not think ecologist should make comments about standard composition of infant formula…
When you look at “organic” formula, and when you got an education in nutrition… You quickly realize how bad “organic” formulas are.
Why? Because there is no palm oil in it… and palm oil is the only source of fat that can copy properly the natural fatty acid composition of breastmilk.
why? Because there is no Taurine in it. Organic formula producers may associate taurine with redbull, but real nutritionist know that taurine is present in breastmilk, and is link to a proper retinal development?

So please before insulting people with education, people that try to improve the quality of infant formula for a better baby’s health… Just open a book, go to university, and learn. There is nothing more arrogant than someone who done know anything trying to convince that a professional is wrong!
Good night!


Please inform us all of the proper chemistry and biology. It definitely takes years of research and a Ph.D to realize that pesticides are harmful to babies. How would anyone put two and two together otherwise? Maybe I will just start pouring other chemicals down babies throats just to see what happens. Bleach? Sounds good. I am not qualified enough to give you the proper chemical analysis to see if it is harmful or not so it must be safe. ... and its "your" research ...

You're an idiot

People that don't know anything about chemistry or biology shouldn't post articles involving both.  Do some proper research.  If you think you're research was proper, then the title of my post is accurate.

False comfort

I hate it when people say 'Well if it's in this it must be safe' or 'the government wouldn't allow toxic chemicals into these things'

The MSDS sheets say it all and often they say 'toxic at any level' so, what I get from that is there IS no safe level

The only way you could be confident that you're not getting all sorts of chemicals is to buy Organic, it may be more expensive but, I would think that any parent would agree that cost is no object when it comes to your kids (and it's more expensive to pay the doctor as well)

sodium selenate

Also includes sodium seleate...10 times more poisonous than cyanide. It is the wrong kind of selenium. It comes from tailings of copper mining. The proper selenium is selenomethionine, a selenium that can be digested by biological organisms such as humans and baby humans.

Great article, but

Thank you for reporting this horrifying information. What your article is lacking is a list of safe infant formulas that do not contain harmful ingredients.


Buy organic. Even the 'safe' infant formulas that adverstise no chemicals, preservatives etc. could come from cows that eat sprayed grass

Organic is the best way to avoid toxins, and, even better goats milk organic formula

organic is not the answer

you should read up on what organic means, it can still be sprayed just not the same level, if you want to keep your baby healthy maybe to the thing most sane people do BREAST FEED.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to write a comment

Key Research Topics

Sayer Ji
Founder of

Subscribe to our informative Newsletter & get two FREE E-Books

Our newsletter serves 250,000 with essential news, research & healthy tips, daily.

Easy Turmeric recipes + The Dark Side of Wheat

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2018, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.