Um, thanks? Amazing what you think would be common sense yet is heralded as a great suggestion by a federal agency which even when dealing with arsenic, stopped short of advising parents to avoid infant rice cereal altogether.” Ugh.

Via NY Times.

The Food and Drug Administration proposed on Friday a limit for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, saying that this common starter food is a leading source of exposure to the toxin.

Infants are particularly vulnerable to arsenic in rice because, relative to body weight, they eat about three times more rice than adults.

A growing body of research suggests that arsenic exposure is related not only to diminished intellectual function early in life, but also to adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth.

The suggested limit is 100 parts per billion. “Data are still emerging on whether this level is sufficient, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction,” said Margaret R. Karagas, chairwoman of the epidemiology department at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

In its risk assessment, the agency tested 76 rice cereals for infants and found that about half had more inorganic arsenic than the proposed limit.

“One in two packages not meeting the limit is not a great success rate,” said Keeve Nachman, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who studies arsenic in food.

Still, Dr. Nachman said, “having a line in the sand where there wasn’t one before at least gives companies something to work with.”

Manufacturers should aim to get rice for infant cereal from a supply that has low levels of inorganic arsenic, F.D.A. officials said…

The agency stopped short of advising parents to avoid infant rice cereal altogether. But officials did suggest that pregnant women vary the grains they consume.


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  1. Alain41 says:

    Relative to adults: Brown rice has higher level of inorganic arsenic than white rice, because of the bran. And typically basmati rice has the lowest amount.

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