Should You Be Worried About the Arsenic in Your Baby Food?

For years, pediatricians have motivated parents to introduce babies to a wide selection of grains so as to minimize exposure to arsenic. The Food and Drug Administration has proposed limits for how much inorganic arsenic allowed in infant baby cereals, however the agency has however to finalize regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency limits inorganic arsenic in public areas drinking normal water, and the federal government also sets maximum permissible amounts for eggs and some poultry, turkey and pork items.

The Healthy Infants Bright Futures alliance commissioned Brooks Applied Labs in Bothell, Wash., to check more than 100 samples of infant cereals, including 45 specific products created by nine different businesses. The alliance’s report has not been released in a journal and has not been peer-reviewed, but is posted on its website.

The report discovered that over-all, oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, organic and natural quinoa, wheat and rice-free multigrain baby cereals contained much lower levels of inorganic arsenic than rice cereals. In the six barley and buckwheat cereals analyzed, inorganic arsenic was within such small amounts that it was either undetectable or the particular level had to be approximated, the report said. A few of the highest levels of inorganic arsenic were found in products made with brown rice, which tends to absorb more inorganic arsenic from the environment, experts say, though various nutritionists recommend individuals choose dark brown rice over white since it is usually higher in fiber.

The new report notes that cereal makers have built progress at reducing inorganic arsenic in baby foods in recent years. The average level of arsenic in the rice cereals analyzed lately was 85 parts per billion, down from an average level of 103 parts per billion identified by the F.D.A. when it analyzed baby cereals in 2013 and 2014, according to the new report.

Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you are not a robot by clicking the field. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. You need to select a newsletter to subscribe to. Sign Up You agree to receive occasional improvements and special offers for The New York Times’s products and services. Many thanks for subscribing. One has occurred. Please try again later. View new York Times newsletters.

Several manufacturers reported they have taken steps to find sources of rice that are low in arsenic, and some companies said they had discontinued items that did not adhere to the F.D.A.’s proposed safety benchmarks.

Infant rice cereal accounts for 55 percent of a baby’s total dietary exposure to arsenic, one study found. But some specialists caution the much less, the better.

“It’s just like business lead: we don’t think that there is a safe and sound level,” said Margaret R. Karagas, an epidemiologist at the Geisel Institution of Medication at Dartmouth who possesses studied arsenic. “It’s not an important nutrient like zinc and selenium, that you need but can be toxic invest the an excessive amount of – there’s no known benefit to arsenic exposure.”

“While looking forward to the F.D.A. to set benchmarks for arsenic,” which may take a while, “it seems sensible not to eat an excessive amount of it, meaning very little, not often,” said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University and book author. “What this comes down to, I believe, is the most fundamental theory of good diet: eat a variety of foods, not an excessive amount of anybody thing.”

Advertisement Continue browsing the main story

To reduce your family’s exposure to arsenic, the survey suggests choosing a variety of grains including those low in arsenic. If a member of family offers celiac disease and must steer clear of gluten, browse the ingredient labels carefully – rice flour is usually a prevalent ingredient in gluten-free foods.

Cooking rice in excess normal water – using 6 to 10 parts normal water to one component rice – and draining the surplus normal water off before consuming rice can reduce 40 to 60 percent of the inorganic arsenic articles, regarding to F.D.A. study.

Remember that many snacks and snack sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup, also contain rice.

Adults who eat brown rice for its high fiber content may well consider other high-fiber grains like barley and oatmeal.

Read more on: http://nytimes.com