Clickbait title – got you! But for real, this is what Consumer Reports basically said in a recent article.
They accused protein powders of being laced with lead, mercury, and for those of you related to superheroes, kryptonite. By the time you read this article, you will learn two things:
Related - Top 10 Best Protein Powders
Consumer Reports, while not 100% fake news (credit to President Trump for that term), it is certainly not all truth and full disclosure. Essentially, they clickbait as much - or more - than this egregious title.
You should only buy from transparent brands, like my brand, MTS Nutrition, to avoid issues like heavy metals (not Metallica heavy metal, but arsenic and Lead heavy metals) and even amino spiking.
Before you drink that next gulp of whey out of that shaker, read this. And while we are at it, if you haven’t tried MTS Whey yet, we have single serves here. Sorry, I cannot help myself.
The Test for Contaminants
The metal contaminants mentioned most in the Consumer Reports hit-piece… Err… were arsenic and lead. What we neglect to realize is that protein is basically powdered food, and food contains lead at trace or in the case of shrimp, some lead. In fact, here is a list of lead found in common foods:
Food and Lead in 4 oz (mcg)
- Shrimp, boiled: 23.80
- Italian salad dressing: 12.20
- Mixed nuts, no peanuts, roasted: 10.20
- Liver, beef, fried: 9.00
- Brussels sprouts, fresh, boiled: 7.90
- Sweet potato, fresh, baked: 7.20
- Spinach, boiled: 7.00
- Dry table wine: 6.80
- Avocado, raw: 4.50
- Honey: 4.50
- Watermelon, raw: 4.50
- Raisin bran cereal: 4.10
- Raisins, dried: 3.50
- Cottage cheese 4% milk fat: 3.40
- Cucumber, raw: 3.40
- Peach, raw: 3.40
- Granola cereal: 3.00
- Shredded wheat cereal: 3.00
- Whole wheat bread: 2.80
- Onions, mature, raw: 2.70
- Apple, red, raw: 2.60
- Green peas, boiled: 2.20
- Lima beans, boiled: 2.20
- Strawberries, raw: 2.00
- Eggs, boiled: 1.50
- Whole milk: 1.20
Chart reference from Michael Mooney. 
That is almost 24mcg (referenced in the nerd community as “ug”) of lead per 4oz. The max lead ug per serving in protein products for Prop 65 is 15ug per serving of a given supplement, like protein powder.
California's Prop 65 is also called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, and was enacted in 1986. It was passed to help Californians make informed decisions about protecting themselves from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
So just eating “normal” foods found naturally on this earth is beyond acceptable limits. The point is, food has lead in it.
As for arsenic, 10mcg is the limit per serving. Foods can have, for lack of better terms, a whole buttload of arsenic, including those delicious breakfast cereals you eat and the bodybuilding staple, rice. In fact, as you can see here. 
Rice products are full of arsenic:
We try to keep arsenic in supplements within the PQL. PQL stands for practical quantitation limit.
Simply put, this is the lowest level at which the method can confidently discern between two different values. This is the level at which we feel confident reporting results. In non-nerd terms, this means it’s so low that we cannot even see it or it doesn’t exist. 
Much Ado About Nothing?
The fact of the matter is, these are natural elements. But that doesn’t mean we should consume them in abundance.
Long-term arsenic overconsumption can increase the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. While we can tolerate some of it, we shouldn’t purposely go hard with it. That doesn’t mean swearing off of shrimp and rice, both extremely high in arsenic, but be cognizant of what you’re eating, especially pregnant women.
As for lead, brain and nervous system issues in children and high blood pressure and kidney damage in Adults. It would take a lot to do this, but let’s be real here, we shouldn’t purposely overdo this.
So, while we can still eat the arsenic and lead-laced shrimp, we should be cognizant of what we are fueling our bodies with.
Trust Your Protein Powder
Now that we know what the heck we are testing for, let’s look at an independent lab assay for MTS Nutrition Machine Whey:
All three major contaminants are coming in at zero or BARELY trace with lead, coming well below the 15ug Prop 65 level. They are also within the margin of error, meaning it can very well be at zero.
Why does this matter? It goes beyond meeting label claim, it comes to transparency and trust and we willingly submitted this and are sharing this.
With our different certifications, you can be assured that every batch is tested. We not only deliver on label claims (more on this later), but we also pay attention to the little things, which in this case can be HUGE things!
The Trust Issue
A couple of years back, there was a huge issue with amino spiking. This involved using cheap aminos in place of whole protein. Cheap aminos test out the same on a nitrogen test to determine protein content.
I was the first to inform the consumers of this (for lack of better terms) scumbag practice. We published independent amino acid panel tests in full disclosure. This ousting led to many class action lawsuits. See this video that started it all!
And some more:
- Amino Spiking in the MASS MEDIA! | They Named Names!
- How to Tell if YOUR Protein is Amino Spiked and MASS TESTING OF PROTEIN!
- Hi-Tech Sues Muscletech and Allmax For Amino Spiking!
The Bottom Line
Look beyond price when buying supplements. Ask yourself:
- Does this company care about my goals?
- Am I more than just a number to this company?
- Does the owner/CEO actually use their own supplements?
- Can I talk directly to the people who run the company?
- Has this company shown its manufacturing? See this.
This is a start. Like any industry, there are good and bad elements. Support those that support you and your goals!
References1) MICHAEL MOONEY DOT NET ::: Progressive Nutrition, Exercise & Medicine, www.michaelmooney.net/Lead_In_Vitamins.pdf.
2) Product Reviews and Ratings - Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/content/dam/cro/magazine-articles/2012/November/Consumer%20Reports%20Arsenic%20in%20Food%20November%202012_1.pdf.
3) "PQL & Analytical Testing." Chemical Solutions Ltd. | Heavy Metals Analysis, Lead Testing, Elemental Trace Metals, Inorganic Impurities Analysis, chemicalsolutionsltd.com/blog/2017/02/pql-analytical-testing/.