For the past two months, most of my diet has consisted of Soylent. I eat one to four non-Soylent meals a week (usually two) and I sometimes find myself eating a banana or a cookie or something. But it’s safe to say that at least 95% of my diet has been Soylent. So when the company known as As You Sow announced that Soylent had dangerous levels of lead and cadmium in it and was taking legal action against the company, I was very interested in this. I read up on lead and cadmium for a lot of that day and even got to talk to Andrew Behar, the CEO of As You Sow on the phone. He was very polite and took the time to answer all of my questions as best as he could.
If you get enough lead or cadmium in you, either ingredient will do nasty things to your body. However, there is a tiny amount of these ingredients in a lot of what we eat and drink. A tiny amount won’t really hurt you. The thing is, the USA, Canada, Europe… they all have their own rulings about how much is safe. California’s Proposition 65 is a very strict ruling about how much lead/cadmium is safe for us, while Europe and Canada seem to be more relaxed on the subject. It’s the stricter, Prop. 65 that As You Sow is going by when they say that Soylent’s lead and cadmium levels are dangerously high.
With Soylent claiming that their lead/cadmium levels are within the safe limits and As You Sow saying otherwise, who should we believe? Well, I thought to myself…
“Hey, I’ve been drinking a scwillion tons of this stuff for months. And it just so happens that it’s possible to have one’s blood tested for lead and cadmium levels. Why don’t I go do that?” Which is exactly what I did.
Weirdly, Canadian healthcare covers the blood test for lead levels, but the cadmium test was $75 bucks. Maybe they had to hire a minor celebrity to do that test or something. Anyways, after some waiting, here are my results…
Cadmium: 2.4 nmol/L (The recommended safe limit is anything less than 44 nmol/L)
Lead: 0.07 nmol/L (The recommended safe limit for adults is anything less than 1.45 nmol/L. The safe limit for children and child bearing women is 0.48 nmol/L)
I understand that this is not at all a scientific survey (unless you consider it a survey of one). But for me personally, this speaks volumes. I have been drinking far more Soylent than most people who use the product (from what I understand) and my lead/cadmium levels are nowhere near those unsafe limits. For me, this is pretty solid evidence and I’m very comfortable continuing to use the product as I have been.
Keep in mind that Soylent’s newest version Soylent 2.0 has much lower levels of lead/cadmium than Soylent 1.5. It’s version 1.5 that As You Sow is going all Charlton Heston over (that’s a Soylent Green movie reference, for you kids paying attention) and it’s version 1.5 that I’ve been drinking on a daily basis. I have yet to even try version 2.0.
I want to make it clear that I am a completely neutral party in all of this. Believe me, if my lead/cadmium levels were anywhere near the unsafe limits, I’d be siding with As You Sow and pointing an accusing finger at Soylent. I might have even been moved to use multiple exclamation points. Y’see, my goal is not to try and take sides and I really don’t care if I’m pissing off Soylent or As You Sow. I just don’t want to… you know… die.
So to sum up, in my personally researched opinion, Soylent is completely safe and I plan to ignore As You Sow.