Li'l Critters Vitamins for Children

A very good friend of mine is a therapist in Virginia... She brought this article to my attention for all of you parents out there...

Lead-In-Vitamins Report Creates Controversy

A company that tests vitamins and supplements is standing by its claim that a popular brand of children's vitamins contains unhealthy levels of lead -- despite protests from the manufacturer of the vitamins.

By Merritt McKinney
NEW YORK (Reuters Health)
- A company that tests vitamins and supplements is standing by its claim that a popular brand of children's vitamins contains unhealthy levels of lead -- despite protests from the manufacturer of the vitamins.

"There's no question about the results," Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of, said in an interview with Reuters Health. Cooperman said he stands by the recent review that found that L'il Critters Gummy Vites contained potentially harmful levels of lead.

But the results of the testing are "highly suspect," according to Steven Fink of Lexicon Communications, which represents Northwest Natural Products, Inc., (NNP) the company that makes the vitamins.
"The underlying message is that Gummy Vites are safe," Fink told Reuters Health in an interview. "To say that they are way above any kind of standard is misleading." is a privately held company based in White Plains, New York. According to the company, it is neither owned by nor has a financial interest in any companies that make, distribute or sell consumer products.

One project of the New York company is to review the contents of vitamins and supplements. The results being disputed come from a review of more than 40 vitamin products, Cooperman said.

To conduct this type of review, purchases products from stores and then sends them to an independent lab for testing, according to Cooperman. If the first round of testing produces any troubling results, such as elevated lead levels, then the product is tested at a second independent lab, he said.
That is what happened with L'il Critters Gummy Vites, according to Cooperman. The first round of testing detected 2.5 micrograms of lead per two-gummy-bear serving, and a second lab confirmed the results, Cooperman said.

The FDA advises that children younger than 6 consume no more than 6 micrograms of lead per day.
But Fink, the representative for Northwest Natural Products, Inc., says that when the vitamin maker had an independent lab conduct similar testing, the vitamins contained negligible levels of lead. In fact, Fink said that L'il Critter Gummy Vites had less lead than several other children's vitamins, although he said he was not able to release the comparative results at this time.

According to Cooperman,'s testing involved vitamins that had an expiration date of September 2005. Cooperman said that the tests commissioned by the vitamin maker were conducted on newer vitamins, which had an expiration date of 2006.(image placeholder) "They tested a newer batch and said that we lied. It's ridiculous," Cooperman said.

But Fink said that would not tell Northwest Natural Products, Inc., which batch had been tested, a charge denied by Cooperman, who said that always retains samples of the products that it tests.

Fink also complained, " never contacted Northwest Natural Products, Inc., the manufacturer of Gummy Vites to alert them to their test results."

According to Fink, the company first learned of the story when consumers who read a story about the testing in O Magazine called the company's hotline. Fink alleged that held on to the results of the testing until the story broke first in O Magazine and then on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"That was not the case," according to Cooperman.

Both sides in the dispute are awaiting the results of testing of a recent batch of vitamins. NNP has paid to measure lead levels in a newer batch of its product. The results of the testing should be available this week, according to Cooperman.

The results are overdue, according to Fink, who said the company paid an additional fee to expedite the results.

The latest round of testing may do little to settle the dispute, however, as Cooperman said he is considering legal action because of the "really libelous things" that have been said about
"It seems to me that they made a business decision that it would be easier to try to create doubt about our results than to correct the problem," Cooperman said.

For his part, Fink questioned the independence of He noted that when a company pays to test its product, the contract stipulates that the company has the power to block the publication of any negative results.

According to Cooperman, this only applies when a company contracts directly with to test a product to see if it meets the criteria for seal of approval. This differs from the wide-ranging reviews that also conducts. When reviewing a whole category of products, such as the vitamin review that triggered the dispute, Cooperman pointed out that purchases all products and owns the results of the testing.

NEWS Warns of Deceptive Campaign by Manufacturer of Children's Vitamin
WHITE PLAINS, NY - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - FRIDAY MAY 28, 2004 - Responding to a deceptive public relations campaign recently launched by vitamin manufacturer Northwest Natural Products, Inc., reiterated its warning today that it has found an excessive amount of lead in the company's Li'l Critters Gummy Vites, a popular children's multivitamin.'s recently published Product Review of Multivitamins ( reports Li'l Critters Gummy Vites to contain 2.5 mcg of lead per two gummy bear serving. Under California's Prop 65, supplements should generally contain no more than 0.5 mcg of lead per serving or must carry a warning label. The FDA advises that total daily lead intake from the diet should not exceed 6 mcg for children under age six and that some risk exists with any level of lead exposure.

The Li'l Critters Gummy Vites product that was tested by has the expiration date of 9/05.'s results were confirmed in two independent laboratories prior to release.
Rather than recall this product and notify the public of the problem, the manufacturer, Northwest Natural Products, Inc. ("NNP"), has launched a libelous campaign against, attempting to put its results into question. NNP has published test results suggesting that its product is not high in lead, but these results are based exclusively on newer batches of the product (with expiration dates in 2006). NNP has not published any results regarding the batch of product tested by nor for other batches with expiration dates in 2005, despite the fact that these products currently remain in use and for sale at major drug, grocery, and discount stores including Costco and Wal-mart.

NNP has asked to test its newer product, which is underway. hopes to find that problems do not exist with the new product. However, has every reason to believe that its reported findings are correct and it cautions parents to avoid giving their children Li'l Critters Gummy Vites having an expiration date of 9/05 and possibly others with expiration dates prior to 2006. It believes NNP has acted irresponsibly in this matter, needlessly subjecting children to lead exposure and disseminating false information about to cover its mistakes. is considering legal action against NNP.

Since 1999, has been a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to is available online at where Reviews of many other popular supplements can be found. New Reviews soon to be released include, valerian, vitamin E, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, and nutrition bars.

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