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When toxic metals are in products there is outrage…isn’t there?

Posted Jan 14 2010 11:53am

Imagine products that tested positive for a metal which studies have reported linked to autism severity. Imagine those products were supplements marketed for use with autistic kids. Would you expect some outrage, especially from the groups linking autism to toxic metals? I would.

Have you heard about the possible antimony contamination in some supplements manufactured by Kirkman Laboratories:


Jan. 7, 2010

Dear Kirkman Customer and Distributor,

It has come to Kirkman’s attention, that a raw material vendor has supplied Kirkman with stevia that has a higher content of antimony than may be acceptable for our special needs customers.

The problem is limited to only two lots of stevia, which were used in several Kirkman® products. These products affected by the high antimony levels are:

1. Zinc Liquid – - Product # 387/8 and 387/16
2. Super Nu-Thera® w/o A and D Powder – - Product # 447/454
3. DMAE 50 mg. Chewable – - Product # 489/90
4. Super Nu-Thera® Powder Orange – - Product # 410/454
5. B Complex with CoEnzymes Pro-Support Powder – - Product #399/7
6. TMG w/Folic and B-12 Powder – - Product #413/4 and 413/8
7. Vitamin C 250 mg Chewable Tablets – - Product #389/100 and 389/250
8. Trial sizes of the above seven products

You should stop using these products, destroy them and request a credit or replacement from Kirkman®. Please call our customer service department to make this request.

Raw material suppliers or nutraceutical companies are not required to test for antimony levels, so Kirkman® was not aware of this problem until two of our physician customers brought the issue to our attention as a result of their metal testing. We immediately had our laboratory research the issue. They quickly isolated the problem to two specific lots of stevia leaf extract. Kirkman® immediately stopped using the affected stevia and stopped shipping products that tested out at high antimony levels.

So that this situation does not reoccur, we have implemented a new policy that every raw material we use in our products will be tested for antimony.

Kirkman® apologizes for any inconvenience we may have caused because of this issue. We have instituted this voluntary action regarding the suspect products because we feel it’s the right thing to do. Kirkman® will not compromise on the quality standards we have been known for throughout our more than 60 years of business.

Larry Newman
COO Technical and Regulatory Affairs
Kirkman Group



Jan. 12, 2010

Antimony Update

What are the effects of ingesting antimony?

There are still unknowns regarding the ingestion of antimony. Antimony is not typically a contaminant in raw materials. It is not part of the USP heavy metal screening that raw materials are typically tested for by importers or food and supplement manufacturers. Furthermore, there are very few studies that define what are safe or potentially harmful levels of antimony. Kirkman® has spoken with government regulatory agencies regarding safety issues from the use of antimony. Their response is still forthcoming. As a result, we don’t have all the answers currently.

Orally consumed antimony is typically eliminated by the body through urine and feces in several weeks and probably isn’t bio-accumulated. If this is the case, the levels in Kirkman’s products would pose no risks. The few clinical studies reported in the literature tend to indicate that levels less than 1 mg. of antimony per kg. of body weight are eliminated without side effects. Kirkman® will continue to update our website as more information becomes available. Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Larry Newman
Chief Operating Officer
Technical and Regulatory Affairs
Kirkman Group, Inc.

If you are like me, you’d be wondering if anyone in the alternative medical world care about antimony. The answer: You bet. A recent article touted by many in the biomed community, The Severity of Autism Is Associated with Toxic Metal Body Burden and Red Blood Cell Glutathione Levels claimed “this study demonstrates a significant positive association between the severity of autism and the relative body burden of toxic metals.” (for more on that study, see Prometheus’ analysys, Is DMSA safe and effective?). One of the toxic metals reported in that study…antimony.

The regression analysis found that the body burden of toxic metals (as assessed by urinary excretion before and after DMSA) was significantly related to the variations in the severity of autism, for each of the four scales. The metals of greatest influence were lead (Pb), antimony (Sb), mercury (Hg), tin (Sn), and aluminum (Al).

This was discussed by the alternative medical autism community. For example, in Toxic metals related to more severe autism symptoms, the blog author wrote:

A new Journal of Toxicology study seems to confirm that children with higher levels of metals – such as lead and antimony – in their urine had more severe autism, suggesting that metal levels in their bodies may contribute to its seriousness.

I always hear a lot about “EPA drinking water limits” when it comes to mercury. 2 parts per billion is the limit for Mercury. The limit for antimony? 6 parts per billion.

Now, keep in mind that the drinking water limit argument is almost always used incorrectly and, to this reader’s eye, as a scare tactic. But, I wonder if the same measures will be used if and when anyone in the alternative medical community decides to discuss the Kirkman supplements.

Kirkman Laboratories is one of the well known suppliers of supplements to the autism biomed community. Let’s say that one of the big pharmaceutical houses had made the announcements above, would there be outrage voiced on the blogs?

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