Is It True? There’s Lead In Bentonite Clay!

Is It True? There's Lead In Bentonite Clay! | Growing Up Herbal | Concerned about using products that contain bentonite clay because it contains lead? Here's why I'm fine with it.

This post was originally published in July 2015. Since that time, I have received many comments, Facebook messages, and emails from people questioning why I’d promote the internal usage of bentonite clay due to its lead content, especially in the form of a children’s toothpaste. Finally, after three years and one very polite email asking me to dig a little deeper into this topic, I decided to hit the web for new information and research, and edit this post with my findings. I hope you find this helpful, no matter which side of the “lead and bentonite clay” fence you are on. — Meagan

Several months ago, a mama commented on a post I wrote promoting Redmond Trading Company’s “Earthpaste,” saying that she had recently ordered some for her child but was greatly disappointed when she saw the proposition 65 warning label on the tube saying it contained lead. She said she couldn’t let her child brush his teeth with a toothpaste containing lead and wanted to know why I would promote such a product.

This argument against using lead-containing bentonite clay has been around for a while, and there are some pretty strong voices on both sides.

Today, I’d like to address this “lead and bentonite clay” topic, hopefully, share some truths and untruths with you, and let you know the ways I will use bentonite clay products in my home from this point forward.

Understanding The Mineral Lead & How It Affects Our Health

Lead is a mineral found deep in the earth’s crust as well as the air, water, soil, and other everyday things we’re exposed to. It’s found in varying levels in products such as paints, water pipes, batteries, gas, cosmetics, toys, and even in the food we eat (United States Environmental Protection Agency, n.d.).

While lead is a naturally-occurring substance in the earth and is useful in many ways, it’s still toxic to human and animal health, even in small amounts (US EPA, n.d.).

Children are more likely to experience negative effects from lead as their bodies are thought to absorb lead more easily than an adult. They are also thought to be more sensitive to its health effects (US EPA, n.d.).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should have less than 5 micrograms of lead in a deciliter of blood. Anything over 10 micrograms per deciliter can lead to negative health effects (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.). In the United States, the average blood lead concentration in 1-year-old children has been reported at 3 micrograms per deciliter (Holstege, 2016). As you can see from the numbers here, even infants have the potential to be exposed to lead.

While children are at a higher risk of lead exposure due to playing on the floor, eating with their hands, and not washing hands (including babies in utero and nursing infants), lead can negatively affect adults too.

Lead is absorbed in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Once absorbed, it is transported via red blood cells and stored in bones and other organs (specifically the brain) in the body where it moves in and out of these tissues as needed (Gulson & Salome, 1995). Lead levels can increase over time, and the higher the lead levels get, the more health problems you can experience (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). Nervous system effects are usually noticed first, but as lead levels increase, other body systems will be affected, leading to organ damage and even death at higher levels (CDC, n.d.). Lead is excreted from the body via urine and the gastrointestinal tract (Gulson & Salome, 1995).

If you’re curious to know what your or your child’s lead level is, you can request a lead screening at your doctor’s office. Just keep in mind that these tests rarely detect lead levels under 25 micrograms unless they are sent off for further testing (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, n.d.).

While it is believed that there is no safe limit to lead in the body, the truth of the matter is that we live in a world where lead exists, we are exposed to it from many sources, and it’s highly probable that we all have some level of lead in our bodies.

As a parent, and someone who desires to be healthy, I realize that there is a certain amount of control I have over-exposure to toxins like lead. While I can’t prevent my children or myself from being exposed to lead at all costs, I can work to decrease potential exposure as much as possible. I can choose to purchase and use lead-free products in my homes (toys, dishes, paint, cosmetics, etc.), I can feed my family a healthy diet in order to decrease lead absorption (US EPA, 2014), I can keep our homes clean in order to reduce exposure to dust and soil, I can test our water and other materials for lead levels, so on and so forth.

Is It True?? There’s Lead In Bentonite Clay?

Now that we know a bit about lead and how it affects our health, let’s move on to the big question. Is there lead in bentonite clay and Earthpaste?

Simply put — yes. There is a small amount of lead in bentonite clay, Earthpaste’s primary ingredient (Redmond Trading, n.d.; Advanced Laboratories, 2017). While I couldn’t find any evidence, I do wonder if trace amounts of lead can be found in all types of clay, seeing how clay is mined out of the earth. If you have an answer to this question, feel free to email and share it with me.

So now the question becomes, should we not use clay because it contains lead?

Seeing how we use clay in many areas of our life (cookware, pharmaceutical medications, farming, landscaping, animal care, and more), it would be very difficult to completely cut it from our lives. Besides, clay has a lot of positive uses, not only in our world but for our health as well (Kos, 2016; Moosavi, 2017). While there have been reports of increased lead levels in persons using specific clay products, there have also been reports that don’t show increased lead levels after long-term use of clay.

So what’s a natural mama to do or even think about this topic?

Before coming to a conclusion about lead and bentonite clay, I think it’s important to try to understand how compounds, chemical bonds, and ionic charges work so we can fully understand whether we’re at risk for lead toxicity from clay or not.

Chemistry 101

As I dug deeper into this lead and bentonite clay topic, I found myself wishing I had paid better attention in my high school chemistry class, especially since understanding the difference in organic and inorganic compounds seems to be an important part of all of this.

Now, a bit of a disclaimer here. I am not a chemist and certainly not an expert in this area. The following information is merely my attempt at interpreting the research I found. If you are a chemist, and I’ve come to a wrong conclusion on the information below, feel free to send me an email and educate me. I’ll update the post and credit you, of course. Thanks in advance!

So here we go — Chemistry 101.

Understanding Organic & Inorganic Compounds

  • Organic compounds are those that contain another molecule such as carbon, hydrogen, or even nitrogen. These compounds are usually those found in living things such as animals and plants. They are believed to be relatively stable, have lower absorption rates in the body, and are less toxic. Lead can be in the form of an organic compound when it is bound with animal and plant tissue (as is the case with foods that contain lead).
  • Inorganic compounds, on the other hand, do not contain another molecule (with some exceptions) and are often found in non-living things like rocks, soil, and water. These compounds are thought to be more unstable, more bioavailable in the body, and more toxic. Lead is also found in this form when it is unbound in its natural state (as is the case with lead in soil, rocks, water, or in forms used in modern products like paint, pipes, cosmetics, etc.).

(Texas Education Agency, n.d.; Barron, 2014; Eidon Ionic Minerals, n.d.).

Bound & Unbound Forms of Lead

As I mentioned above, metals, like lead, can come in both organic and inorganic forms. These forms are referred to as either bound or unbound.

  • Organic forms of lead are found in plants and animals — living things. This is due to a plant or animal absorbing inorganic lead from a non-living thing such as the soil or animal feed and that lead binding to molecules within the plant or animal tissue, converting the lead from an inorganic form to an organic form. Organic forms of lead are considered “bound” because they have attached themselves to another molecule. They are part of the animal or plant tissue and are less available for absorption (Barron, 2014).
  • Inorganic forms of lead are those that are in their natural molecular state and are found in non-living things like rocks, soil, or water. Inorganic forms of lead are considered “unbound” because they have not attached themselves to another molecule. These unbound forms are considered more unstable, and they are more bioavailable in the body (Barron, 2014).

Absorption Rates of Bound & Unbound Lead

While it may be true that organic “bound” compounds have lower absorption rates and inorganic “unbound” compounds have high absorption rates, the fact remains — they both can be absorbed to some degree.

When it comes to lead, it’s believed that lead is primarily absorbed via the lungs and the gastrointestinal tract (some lead is absorbed via the skin as is the case with lead in cosmetics). Seeing how the lungs can’t digest clay, I’m not so sure that inhaling bentonite would put you at risk for absorbing the bound lead in it. Perhaps it would cause other problems, but would lead absorption be one of them? That doesn’t seem likely. What seems more likely is that lead absorption from clay would instead take place in the gastrointestinal tract.

Absorption of these compounds comes down to one thing — how quickly the body can break them down into their basic anatomical structures so they can be absorbed and transported to tissues in the body.

Compounds in liquid form tend to be the quickest to be absorbed whereas compounds in solid forms take longer to break down. Breakdown of these compounds begins in the stomach. While an acidic pH is a huge factor in how much lead is leached from a substance (Valadez-Vega et. al., 2011; Enslin, van der Mey, & Waanders, 2010), time is also a factor. The longer something remains in the acidic environment of the stomach, the more time the substance has to be broken down into its basic form — including substances that contain lead (Eidon Ionic Minerals, n.d.).

How Bioavailable Is Lead In Bentonite Clay?

So this is where the rubber meets the road. We know that bentonite clay contains lead, but how bioavailable is this lead? As in, if bentonite clay is ingested, will the lead in it bind to the tissues in our bodies, negatively affecting our health, or not?

The lead contained in bentonite clay, as well as other forms of clay, while inorganic in nature, have been found to be bound with the clay due to the negatively charged ions in bentonite (Williams, Haydel, & Ferrell, 2009), and therefore, is not believed to be as bioavailable to your body as unbound forms of lead are. In fact, a 2017 review of 100 PubMed articles about the effects of bentonite clay on body function showed promising results when using this clay for health reasons. While the potential for adverse effects was reported for gastrointestinal binding of electrolytes and potential cell lysis, increased lead levels were not reported (Moosavi, 2017).

How Does Ionic Bonding Work?

Bentonite clay has a negative electrical charge, and lead, like most toxins and heavy metals, has a positive electrical charge. These two opposite charges attract, binding the clay and lead together, making the lead “bound” instead of “unbound.”

This ionic bonding is one reason why bentonite clay is often used in detox protocols. When positively charged substances come into contact with the negatively charged clay, they bind together, eventually passing both the clay and the toxin from the body.

How pH and Time Affects Absorption

As one final caution when it comes to absorption of lead from bentonite clay, note that I said “not believed to be as bioavailable,” meaning that, under the right circumstances, there is a possibility that lead could be absorbed to some degree.

Think back to the factors that cause compounds to be broken down for absorption — pH and time. The longer bentonite clay remains in the acidic environment of the stomach, the higher the chance it will be broken down, lead unbound, and therefore, absorbed.

However, in order to decrease the chance of this occurring, speeding up transit time in the stomach could be the answer. This can be achieved by not only increasing water consumption after taking bentonite clay but by taking bentonite clay in capsule form as well (Le, n.d.).

To Recap

I know I’ve shared a lot of information with you in this article, and hopefully provided some good sources for you in case you want to do your own research (which I always recommend). At this point, I think it would be good to review some of the important points from above.

  • Lead is highly toxic and is something we’re exposed to via many different sources in the world we live in.
  • Lead comes in organic and inorganic forms.
  • Trace amounts of inorganic lead are found in bentonite clay; however, the lead is bound there due to the clays ionic charge.
  • There is a chance for some lead becoming unbound due to high-acid levels in the stomach; however, there are things that can be done to minimize the likelihood of this.

What This Means For Me

Yes, clay contains various amounts of lead and other elements, therefore clay-based products, like Earthpaste, contain lead. While this lead has a low chance of being bioavailable inside the body, the fact remains that there is still a chance.

When it comes to teaching kids how to brush their teeth, all children swallow toothpaste at first. So whether the toothpaste is made from clay that contains trace amounts of bound lead, store-bought toothpaste with fluoride (another harmful toxin), or an oil-based tooth oil with essential oils — the child is still going to swallow something, correct? So which is worse? Which has the least chance of harm?

Each of us will need to make that decision for ourselves. Personally, if I were training a little one to brush his teeth again, I think I’d start out with an oil-based tooth oil with essential oils that are safe for children. Once they were doing well with that, I would be fine switching to a clay-based toothpaste. Again, this is my own personal conclusion to the information I’ve found in regards to using clay-based toothpaste. I’d encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusion.

So what do you think? Does this concern you? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, and research in the comments below.

Post originally published: July 2015 – Updated: March 2018


  • Advanced Laboratories. (2017). Calcium bentonite clay test certificate. [PDF]. Retrieved from https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1073/5330/files/Earth_s_Natural_Clay_LLC_144737_2017_mineral_analysis.pdf?2912196745585387742
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (n.d.). Toxic substances portal – lead. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/TF.asp?id=93&tid=22#bookmark08
  • Barron, J. (2014). Heavy metal hysteria. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://jonbarron.org/diet-and-nutrition/heavy-metal-hysteria
  • Caballero, B., Trugo, L. C., & Finglas, P. M. (2003). Encyclopedia of food sciences and nutrition (2nd ed.). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/B0-12-227055-X/00936-6
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Lead factsheet. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/Lead_factsheet.html
  • Eidon Ionic Minerals. (n.d.). Understanding minerals: Organic vs. inorganic. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.eidon.com/understanding-minerals-organic-vs-inorganic/
  • Enslin, F., van der Mey, L., & Waanders, F.. (2010). Acid leaching of heavy metals from bentonite clay, used in the cleaning of acid mine drainage. Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 110(4), 187-191.
  • Gulson, B., & Salome, F. (1995). Distribution and effects of lead. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.lead.org.au/lanv3n3/lanv3n3-12.html
  • Holstege, C. (2016). Pathophysiology and etiology of lead toxicity. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2060369-overview
  • Kos, K. (2016). History and benefits of clay. [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.ancient-minerals.com/history-and-benefits-of-clay/
  • Le, J. (n.d.). Drug absorption. Retrieved from https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/drugs/administration-and-kinetics-of-drugs/drug-absorption
  • Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Lead poisoning. [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717
  • Moosavi, M. (2017). Bentonite clay as a natural remedy: A brief review. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 46(9): 1176–1183.
  • Redmond Trading. (n.d.). Redmond clay – Elemental analysis. [PDF]. Retrieved from https://redmond.life/pdfs/RedmondClay_MineralAnalysis.pdf
  • Swetlitz, I. (2016). “Detox” clay may have dangerous amounts of lead – FDA says. Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2016/02/02/detox-clay-fda-lead/
  • Texas Education Agency. (n.d.). Organic or inorganic. [Online Course]. Retrieved from https://www.texasgateway.org/resource/organic-or-inorganic
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2014). Fight lead poisoning with a healthy diet. [PDF]. Retrieve from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-02/documents/fight_lead_poisoning_with_a_healthy_diet.pdf
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Learn about lead. [Online Article]. Retrieve from https://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead
  • Valadez-Vega, C., Zúñiga-Pérez, C., Quintanar-Gómez, S., Morales-González, J. A., Madrigal-Santillán, E., Villagómez-Ibarra, J. R., . . . García-Paredes, J. D. (2011). Lead, cadmium and cobalt (Pb, Cd, and Co) leaching of glass-clay containers by pH effect of food. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 12(4), 2336-2350. doi:10.3390/ijms12042336
  • Williams, L. B., Haydel, S. E., & Ferrell, R. E. (2009). Bentonite, Bandaids, and Borborygmi. Elements, 5(2), 99-104. doi:10.2113/gselements.5.2.99
  1. Jill York says:

    I have never researched this and this has been very informative!

  2. Monica says:

    Well Meagan it did come as a surprise to me… I use bentonite toothpaste from Shoshanna’s recipe, adding spirellina power to the paste..peppermint etc…honesty I feel this is the best paste.. It clears away bacteria in back of my throat… The lead deal sounds like it just passes through the body if swallow…if one is so worry especially if it is a child that swallow the paste, I would probably use very little bentonite, baking soda, stevia, and a flavoring.. Trade off and on with coconut oil? But 6 mcg. is tiny amount..main thing I would believe is longs the kid learns to brush the acid off his or her teeth… Growing up as a child myself we used baking soda to brush our teeth..that was hard but we did it.. It did cut down on dental work.. But honestly I love Shoshanna’s recipe, I believe your the one that added the spirulina power..

    • Meagan says:

      We love our homemade bentonite clay with spirulina too Monica! In fact, I need to make the kids some more!

  3. Tanna says:

    Thank you for writing this. I love Earthpaste and it’s all I’ll use. I want to get rid of toxins and it sounds like the clay helps that happen. My 11 yr old son loves the lemon Earthpaste and it that makes him brush more regularly. It doesn’t bother me that it has trace amounts of lead. If you drink tap water your probably consuming lead in larger amounts anyway.

    • Meagan says:

      That could be true Tanna. We have reverse osmosis water in our house that we use for all of our drinking and cooking, but I’m sure we’re getting city water and all it’s chemicals when we go out to eat and drink the water from the restaurants. I’m not sure about the levels of lead it contains though. Thanks for your comment!

  4. Stephanie says:

    I a man going to chime in and politely disagree with this article. Both of my children are tested every year by their ped since we live in a century home. They have always tested under 1.2. Then I decided to switch from spry to earthpaste. We used that for a couple of months before I just started making it at home with Redmond clay. After a few more months my daughter’s right eye stopped going straight. It would turn way in when she would try to focus. So we took her to the ped, who then lead tested her. At this point it had only been 9 months since her last test. He tested both my kids just to be safe. They tested 4.8 and 5. Their levels went that high in that short of time. We noticed her rubbing both eyes a lot and took her to three pediatric ophthalmologists, who all told me the same thing. Her brain is suffering from neurological damage that is disconnecting the signal to her eye. It also causes her to have add and an inability to develop normal neurological functions like….knowing when you have to pee. She’s now in physical therapy and vision therapy. She’s 3. And I am extremely mad that I didn’t know about the lead in the clay before. I blame myself. But how can any company say “safe to swallow” when there is straight up lead in their product? Her levels are back down to under 1.2 again. I’m chelating them but the damage is permanent. Maybe think of her before advocating the safety of it to other families with young children.

    • Meagan says:

      Hi Stephanie. First of all, I’m sorry about your kids, and I’m glad their lead levels are back down. However, I’m not convinced that the clay toothpaste is totally to blame for their high lead levels.

      From my research (and the research of others… scientists included), the lead is bound in the clay and not available for absorbtion by the body. If you know of studies that show it can be absorbed, I’d love to look into them. Next, the amount of lead in clay is TINY… there’s more lead in common foods than in clay. Not only that, but you eat more foods with lead than you do toothpaste and even that doesn’t contribute to increased lead levels due to absorption issues. With that being said, there are other ways we can be exposed to lead, especially since you mentioned you live in a century home. If it were me in your shoes, I’d look into other lead exposure, especially since your children’s doctor was already concerned enough to do lead testing in the first place. Lastly, Redmond Clay has done tons of research on this very topic, and they wouldn’t be allowed to sell a product that caused lead poisoning if this were the case.

      Now, I’m not a scientist. I’m a nurse and a mom who’s also trying to make good, healthy decisions for my family. I too am trying to do my research when it comes to the choices I make for my kids. This is one I’m not too concerned about, but I always tell people to do their own research and to make their own health decisions. Again, I’m so sorry. It’s no fun having things like this happen to our children. Yes, you have a very valid concern with their lead levels being that high, but I’d do a bit more digging and look for other things that could be contributing to it.

    • Jess B says:

      A contrary story: My daughter had a BLL of 3 before ever using any toothpaste. After 2 years of using bentonite based paste, and 4 years for my Son, both of their most recent BLL screenings, via vein draw, were under 1 (as low as the lab can go). I’ve heard from numerous Mamas who’ve all had great BLL results (as in ND or less than 1, which could be .05, etc) and they are using the pastes in question as well.

  5. Nic says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you still do the smoothies with your kids as that concentration is higher then Earthpaste?

    • Meagan says:

      If my kids are sick and I want to do more of an internal detox with them then, yes, I would still put clay in their smoothie. It’s rare that I feel the need to do this as we stay fairly healthy, but I would be okay with it seeing how the lead isn’t bioavailable to the body from clay.

  6. Kelsey says:

    I just bought the Earthpaste peppermint toothpaste this week, as I’m in the process of eliminating all toxic personal care and cleaning products from our home. I saw the Prop 65 warning on the box and tube but dismissed it because I know CA puts that on most things. However my husband saw it too and made a bigger deal, because it says it could cause birth defects. I am 25 weeks pregnant. I keep seeing mixed reviews all over the internet about it. Do you recommend this to be used in pregnancy still? I plan to ask my midwife at my next appointment but in the meantime I’m not sure which is worse- earthpaste or the crest we’ve been using for years.

    • Meagan says:

      Hi, Kelsey! I totally get your husband’s concern as it’s a very valid one. However, from my understanding, the lead found in bentonite clay (and in many foods we eat) is bound in the food and not released into the body when consumed. Of course, this varies based on pH, but generally, it’s not a concern. Plus, you are an adult, and I doubt you will be eating your toothpaste (unless you get some crazy pregnancy related pica thing going on… LOL!) so the tiny amount of lead would not be an issue for you. In fact, from the testing that’s been done on Redmond Clay Earthpaste, the lead that is found in the clay is less than the amount of lead in common foods. I’m planning on updating this post in the near future to include new information and research I’ve come across, but in my mind, it’s safe. If you’d rather stay on the safest side possible then you could use tooth oil as your toothpaste. It’s what I’m currently using, and I love it! I’ll try to get a blog post up with it soon, but basically you make an oil blend with antimicrobial essential oils in it and brush your teeth with that. Hope this helps, and congrats on your pregnancy!

  7. Anonymous says:


  8. Eve says:

    hi! I am very interested in the tooth powder- but I need more reassurance about the lead being tightly bound to the clay. The lack of bioavailability makes theoretical sense to me, but if you posted a picture of your kid’s lead testing results after using the tooth powder daily for a month, I would feel reassured enough to purchase the tooth powder. Its a free test from the pediatrician. thanks!

    • Meagan Visser says:

      There are several bloggers that have done this, Eve. You can Google and search for it. I’m not one of them because my kids don’t use clay-based toothpaste consistently. If you’re not sure about using a natural toothpaste with bentonite in it, then perhaps it’s best for you to avoid it. We love using essential oil tooth oil as well, but if your child swallows it, then they’re swallowing essential oils which can be risky. While the EOs are properly diluted in the recipe and there shouldn’t be any issues, I suppose there’s always a risk. Also, your kid only uses 2-3 drops of the EO tooth oil so they would only be swallowing VERY LITTLE of it if they did. Hope this helps some.

  9. Zee says:

    Is it save to use for diaper rash because it will be apply around the baby private area so can it goes in the body?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      If you read the post, Zee, you’ll see that the way the lead is bound to the clay makes it very unlikely that it will unbind from the clay and be absorbed into the body. Bentonite clay is commonly used on the skin for rashes and other ailments with great success. Personally, I’m very comfortable using bentonite clay in this way, but as always, I encourage you to do your own research.

  10. Audrey Ascenzo says:

    Great article! I have been using Earthpaste for years. Using a small amount with baking soda, it works well for me. Thank you for all the research on this subject since I always wondered about the lead in this product.
    God Bless!

  11. samantha schwartz says:

    Great article! I found this extremely helpful and informative. We use Redmonds baby powder and toothpaste. We also have some capsules on hand for “emergencies”. We personally prefer bentonite clay vs. common toothpastes/powders/treatments.

  12. EMIly says:

    I think I would be more worried about my children swallowing the essential oils. I don’t believe any essential oils are safe to ingest.
    This is a good article about using essential oils in toothpaste.


    • Meagan Visser says:

      This is true, Emily. I like to use EOs in homemade toothpaste for flavor and for their antibacterial properties. However, I do try to only do that for my kids who are old enough to spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you enjoyed this post!

  13. gRETCHEN kROMER says:

    Thanks for the very informative article! I am wondering whether the potential for absorption in the acidic environment of the stomach could be mitigated by taking the bentonite in a glass of water to which a little baking soda has been added. What do you think?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Hmm… I’m not sure, Gretchen. That would be an interesting thing to look into. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Nancy says:

    Since cosmetic products with lead can be absorbed through the skin, my main concern about the lead in the toothpaste is whether or not it can be absorbed through the gums. Any thoughts on this?

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Well, according to the research I found on lead in bentonite clay, the small amount of lead it contains is tightly bound to the clay so it would seem that it wouldn’t be able to be absorbed in the mouth. Again, I’d encourage you to do your own research as new findings are coming out all the time.

  15. ray says:

    I used an Australian bentonite clay and it made me ill – and I did develop symptoms of lead poisoning. The FDA in America has put warnings on bentonite for a reason. I do not recommend it and I think the author of this article shouldn’t be giving such foolish advice. All lead is bioavailable. I have also read that bentonite not only binds with bad metals, but also the metallic nutrients that you need like magnesium, iron etc. – causing depletion. Green leafy vegetables are great detoxers – why bother with something as potentially dangerous as bentonite? This is fool’s gold.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      I definitely respect your opinion, Ray, and please know that I’m not recommending that others use bentonite clay internally. I’m simply sharing what I’m finding on this topic and sharing my own personal thoughts.

      I know there are different qualities of clay so I can’t speak to the one you used. I use Redmond Bentonite Clay only, and I’ve only had good results with it. I also don’t use it in large quantities or for prolonged periods of time.

      With that said, do you have a source that says “all lead is bioavailable” as that is the opposite of what I found when researching this, particularly when looking into lead in various clays, and I’d love to look into the sources you’ve found. I did find that prolonged use of internal clays can lead to mineral deficiencies so it would be wise not to use clays in large amounts and for long periods of time. It would also be a good idea to increase minerals in the diet (even in supplements) if you were taking clay internally, alternating the clay and the mineral supplements as much as possible. As for green leafy vegetables detoxifying the body go, I couldn’t agree with you more, and a healthy diet should always be the first step in any wellness protocol. However, I haven’t found any information that states that detoxifying foods are strong enough to encourage the body to remove heavy metals.

  16. Candace says:

    But how do you reverse any decay without the clay? Any thoughts about that?

  17. Day Murti says:

    Should I avoid keeping bentonite clay in my mouth overnight to prevent lead absorption?
    — At night after I’ve brushed once with a fluoride/baking soda toothpaste, I rinse out my mouth. With mouth clean, I brush a second time with Alkalizing Toothpaste, by Uncle Harry’s Natural Products (including bentonite clay), https://www.uncleharrys.com/spearmint-toothpaste-3-oz-glass-jar . On the jar is claimed that it “encourages remineralization of tooth enamel”. I don’t rinse with water, only spit out any remaining toothpaste. Overnight, I hope the raw materials in the bentonite clay residue will rebuild my enamel. (I’m a 47 years old 180 lbs. man so imagine myself successfully disposing of any lead in my body.) I rinse my mouth when I get up from bed in the morning.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Hey there. If you read my article, you will have seen how bentonite clay holds on to heavy metals like lead (and therefore, unlikely to deposit into the body) because the metal is bound to other molecules in the clay. So no, I would think keeping a tiny bit of bentonite clay in your mouth at night would not increase lead levels in the body since it’s unlikely that the lead would “unbind” from the bentonite clay. As aways, it’s best to do your own research around this process so you understand it. Hope that’s helpful!

  18. Aurora says:

    Thank you so much for your article. Really appreciate you sharing our findings.
    I mostly use Bentonite Clay (food grade) to detox my pits once a month. Since you mention that PH levels could affect the bonded lead, do you think I should shorten my time I have the paste on my skin? I use ACV and Clay mixeded on my PH acidic pits… lol. I usually leave it on till it dries completely, 20mins.
    This Detox mask really works for me since I use natual deodorant and over time isn’t as effective.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      It takes quite an acidic pH to unbind lead from bentonite clay, so it isn’t likely that the pH on your skin would do it. It’s more likely that stomach acid would do it. The big scare with lead in bentonite clay is more with internal use than external use. I think your bentonite masks are totally fine. Hope that’s helpful, Aurora, and thanks for your comment.

  19. Allison L Adams says:

    I’m researching calcium bentonite clay for using externally, occasionally internally, and in a tooth paste. I’m not purchasing products containing it, if I choose to use it I will be purchasing the clay itself and making my own products for personal use only. My questions is this if a person is concerned with the acid levels in their body could or should they take steps to have a more alkaline system before using calcium bentonite clay internally? Wouldn’t that decrease the amount that the clay breaks down while passing through the body? Bentonite clay is also known as montmorillonite (may have spelled that wrong ?) and the definition of that is – An Aluminum rich clay. I haven’t been able to find information on the aluminum it contains, the amounts, is it bound or unbound etc. If anyone can help me with sources as to where I can find this information I would appreciate it

    • Meagan Visser says:

      You should be able to reach out to various bentonite clay suppliers to get their 3rd party lab tests which give you the details about how much aluminum (and other metals) it contains. From my research and understanding, all metals are tightly bound in clay, and while acids can break these bonds, it seems the acids require quite a bit of time (hours to days) to separate the bonds, which more that the amount of time a small bit of clay is in the stomach (maybe up to an hour, usually less). Anyway, keep digging into the research and reach out for those 3rd party test results. Any clay brand worth purchasing from should have them available. Hope this helps!

  20. allen says:

    hi, i’m just coming across this article, and am wondering now 5-7 years later, if people stuck with the clay toothpastes or not. i’ve been brushing with a homemade blend of calcium bentonite indian healing clay, baking soda, activated charcoal, cinnamon, sea salt, for a few years now, before that was just baking soda, sea salt, and/or dr bronners bar soap. btw i had read that the oil or glycerin in soap blocks enamel remineralization, so i stopped using that on teeth.

    anyway, i wanted to believe the calcium bentonite clay would help w/ remineralization, but it’s hard to say if it did after a few years, and now i’m concerned about lead. sodium and chloride are also bound to each other in table salt, but high salt diets increase blood sodium levels, no? and do we know how lead bonds are affected by stomach acids? i tried to read the scientific study on mice, and it did seem to increase their lead levels. so why not just omit the clay and use baking soda and calcium carbonate if believing the calcium can be absorbed…


    • Meagan Visser says:

      So, from my understanding, sodium and chloride bonds are not bound tightly together, which is why they separate so easily in the digestive tract. From my research, bentonite clay binds heavy metals to it in a way that is tightly bound, and while acid can break those bonds, the amount of time the clay is in the digestive tract isn’t long enough for that to take place. Besides, how much clay does an adult swallow when brushing their teeth. Likely not much, so your risk of being effected by any heavy metals in clay is minimal. With that said, I totally understand choosing to stay away from it. I’d love to get a link to the study you are referring to as well. I’m always interested on new findings in this area. We’ve actually switched to using Boka toothpaste for tooth remineralization. It contains nano-hydroxyapatite, which is scientifically proven to remineralize teeth and be a better, safer, more natural option than fluoride, and we’re very happy with it. Anyway, hope you find this helpful!

  21. Michelle says:

    Thank you this is so valuable and thank you for sharing.

    I am considering using bentonite clay [probably the Aztec brand as that’s what is usually in store] to help a tooth infection. What are your thoughts on this in terms of absorption? Because it will be my mouth with a lot of acids and break down. I think it is supposed to go up against your gum directly and not be encased in anything for it to be effective.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      The pH level in mouth is much different than the pH level of the stomach, so I doubt there would be enough acidity and exposure time to unbind any heavy metals from the clay. It is worth researching to see if you can find any evidence of that though. Best of luck! The best thing I’ve found for a tooth infection is taking garlic honey around the clock — at least 1 bulb a day. You’ll smell, but it has worked for us multiple times.

  22. Lara D. says:

    Baking soda makes teeth more sensitive and weakens tooth enamel. Surprised that so many people have commented about using it as a toothpaste ingredient.

    • Meagan Visser says:

      I’ve never heard this before. Do you have links to any resources that explain why this is? I’d love to check them out.

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