Companies have fortified their products with synthetic versions of certain fatty acids associated with brain development. But evidence shows it may be making children sick.

If you believed a certain baby formula would make your child smarter, would you buy it?

Infant formula manufacturers are banking that you would. That’s why, since 2002, several companies have fortified their products with synthetic versions of DHA and ARA, long-chain fatty acids that occur naturally in breast milk and have been associated with brain development.

The oils are produced by Martek Biosciences Corp. from lab-grown algae and fungus and extracted with hexane, according to the company’s patent application. Hexane is a neurotoxin.

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