The FDA recently released a consumer alert stating “not to use Bentonite Me Baby by Alikay Naturals because of a potential lead poisoning risk,” which the CDC has said can be especially dangerous for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Sold at Target and Sally Beauty Supply stores, as well as on Amazon.com, the purifying powder clay mask is designed to be used on hair and skin for its detoxifying benefits and the packaging says it is 100-percent natural.
The case against the product was brought to light after a Target shopper noticed the jar of clay—she had previously learned about a local family who was suffering from the effects of high levels of lead in their blood and had been using a similar product. She bought a jar and sent it to a lab in Georgia to have its lead content measured, which revealed that the clay contained 37 parts per million of lead. The shopper then alerted the Minnesota Department of Public Health.
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The problem comes with the fact that the product label says the clay can be ingested (providing internal detoxifying effects and raising energy levels). This led the FDA to test the product as a food item rather than a cosmetic, such as lipstick, but the brand is pushing back, saying that the lead standards for food should not be applied. Alikay Naturals founder Rochelle Graham-Campbell says the FDA regulates coloring and labeling in cosmetics, but there is currently no set standard in the cosmetic industry to measure the amount of what they consider as harmful lead.
The case of the Target shopper has since been closed, as Alikay Naturals reported: “The initial consumer report that was filed with the FDA was subsequently closed due to the consumer alleged falsification of facts and statements.” And, although there have not been any confirmed cases of lead poisoning associated with the clay to this point, the FDA is still urging consumers not to buy or use the product.