The More Rice Infants Eat, the Higher Their Arsenic Levels, Study Finds
The more rice products they consume, the more infants are at risk of developing increased levels of arsenic, according to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.
The study examined the dietary data on 759 infants, and researchers found that 80 percent of them were introduced to rice cereal during their first year of life. They examined arsenic levels in infants’ urine to gauge whether there were differences between the babies who ate rice products and those who did not.
Researchers found that infants who ate rice cereal had more than three times the amount of arsenic levels in their urine compared with the infants who ate no rice products of any kind. …
Infants are often given rice cereal and rice snacks as the first solid food they eat because there is a low chance of allergic reaction and it helps them learn to eat. Rice intake for infants, primarily in the form of rice cereal, is three times greater than adults in relation to body weight, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. …
The FDA announced earlier this month that it will propose a limit on “inorganic arsenic” in infant rice cereal because of concerns about the potential long-term effects of exposure to arsenic in food. It put a target limit of 100 parts per billion level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal. A similar level has been set by the European Commission for rice products aimed at infants and young children.
“Gerber monitors and controls for arsenic in our rice ingredients, as arsenic can occur naturally in rice through the growing process. Any ingredient that does not meet our high standards for quality is rejected,” the company said in a statement. “It is not possible to completely eliminate arsenic in food and it has not been determined that there is any safety concern.”