A year after federal health regulators warned that homeopathic teething tablets had been associated with life-threatening injuries, parents and caregivers are being told to avoid yet another homeopathic remedy.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a nine-month-old baby was recently diagnosed with lead poisoning from a homeopathic “healing bracelet.”
“The parents reported that the child intermittently wore a handmade “homeopathic magnetic hematite healing bracelet” that they had purchased from an artisan at a local fair (Figure),” the CDC said. “The child wore the bracelet for teething related discomfort and was sometimes noted to chew on it. Small spacer beads from the bracelet tested at the Manchester Health Department were positive for lead (17,000 ppm). No identifying marks indicating metal content or manufacturer were found on the bead. The vendor records were not available, and the bracelet maker could not be located.”
Children younger than 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely delay cognitive and physical development. Lead poisoning can also be fatal at very high levels.
Last September, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a consumer alert cautioning parents and caregivers against the use of homeopathic teething tablets in infants and children, after such products had been implicated in 10 infant deaths and hundreds of adverse event reports potentially associated with belladonna poisoning.
Belladonna is a common ingredient in homeopathic medications due to its sedative effects. However, exposure to excessive amounts of belladonna can prove toxic for children, leading to:
Several retailers, including CVS and Target, responded to the FDA warning by removing homeopathic teething remedies from their stores. Hyland’s Homeopathic stopped selling its homeopathic teething tablets in the U.S., but did not issue any recalls at that time.
Raritan Pharmaceuticals did announce a teething tablets recall in November 2016, after testing indicated that the products might contain toxic levels of belladonna. The recalled products included:
Hyland’s did not agree to recall its homeopathic teething tablets until April 2017, following a formal request from the FDA. However, the company continued to maintain that the recalled products “met the Company’s safety limit tests and all tested product has been well within an established safety threshold.”