As counterintuitive at it may seem Bayer, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical and chemical companies, is the manufacturer of the Flinstones brand of children's vitamins.
Are they accurately informing their target consumer about the risks associated with the consumption of such obviously toxic substances as hydrogenated oil, aspartame and artificial food colorings? We don't think so!
Even while Bayer may not intend for the ingredients in their product to do harm to children, the consequence of consuming them are clear: slow, mostly sub-clinical poisoning due to the ingestion of known toxic substances.
Notice: Flinstones COMPLETE looks awfully inviting with bright red packaging and good ole' Fred Flinstone representing the cause of good nutrition, we are to assume.
The Supplement Facts look impressive considering some of the vitamins and mineral listed meet the RDA's entire daily requirements, until you read the "fine print" and understand what they are actually putting into this product.
Ingredients of greatest concern are emboldened in red and explained in greater depth below. They are hyper-linked to our alternative toxicology database so you can view some of the first hand peer-reviewed biomedical and toxicological data demonstrating the potential these ingredients have for harm.
INGREDIENTS: Calcium Phosphate, Sorbitol, Choline Bitartrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate, Ferrous Fumarate, Gelatin, Corn Starch, Vitamin E [dl-alpha], Stearic Acid, Carrageenan, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Soy, Castor), Magnesium Stearate, Zinc Oxide, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Niacinamide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, FD&C Red #40 Aluminum Lake, Silicon Dioxide, Mono- and Di-Glycerides, Aspartame†, FD&C Yellow #6 Aluminum Lake, Sucrose, Xylitol, FD&C Blue #2 Aluminum Lake, Cupric Oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Less Than 2% Of: Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Folic Acid, Magnesium Oxide, Monoammonium Glycyrrhizinate, Potassium Iodide, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin B12,Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol).
Sorbitol: Synthetic sweetener which has been linked to gastrointestinal distress and more severe disorders when administered in higher concentrations.
Ferrous Fumarate: A toxic form of iron associated with morbidity and mortality from accidental poisoning in children. See Bayer's warning below.
Vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol acetate): a petrochemically derived analogue of natural vitamin E which may act as an endocrine disruptor and interfere with the heart protective natural vitamin E isomer gamma tocopherol.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Soy, Castor): A synethetically produced fat associated wtih cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegeneration and diabetes.
Magnesium Stearate: a by-product of hydrogenating stearic acid with biological value and potential toxicity.
Zinc Oxide: an inorganic (non-amino acid bound) form of zinc which exhibits toxicity.
Artificial Flavors: petrochemical, and often neurotoxic chemicals.
FD&C Red #40 Aluminium Lake: neurotoxic.
Aspartame: neurotoxic, carcinogenic.
FD&C Yellow #6 Aluminium Lake: neurotoxic.
FD&C Blue #2 Aluminium Lake: neurotoxic.
Cupric Oxide: An inorganic (non-amino acid bound) form of copper which exhibits toxicity.
Vitamin A Acetate: A petrochemically produced byproduct that is capable of causing birth defects.
The devil's advocate will say: toxicity is not defined by the substance itself, but only by the amount of substance to which we are exposed. And this is the standard operating procedure of many toxicologists who make their living by justifying the creation and release of a vast number of biologically unprecedented synthetic chemicals into the environment and our bodies. Many believe that since the human body is a "bio-filter" all we must do is to define an "acceptable level of harm," rather than eliminating harmful exposures altogether.
We reject this chemical and drug-industry friendly way of looking at things and adopt the precautionary principle when it comes to the health of our children. The burden of proof that the ingredients in a product like Flinstones COMPLETE are not harmful must be on Bayer and those who promote it.
Even if a "very small" amount of aspartame or hydrogenated oil can not be shown to be toxic, in and of itself, what happens after a full lifetime of exposure? What happens when you calculate the other ten or so toxic ingredients in the formula, or the ten thousand other exposures a human now faces in modern, industrialized society?
Mono-toxicology with its myopic fixation on the toxicity of singular substances without taking into account the vast set of other exposures occuring simultaneously is utterly incapable of protecting the consumer from an industry that thrives on the ethos of profit by any means necessary.
How did we get to the point where intrinsically toxic substances are being repackaged as "vitamins" and "nutrients" and marketed to the consumer as beneficial to health? Read my expose on the topic Is Your Multivitamin Toxic? Here
View other consumer products analyses here.