Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal. What Should We do.

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What Should We Do?
I am not a father yet, but I do have nephews and nieces. I do worry about their health and every time I am buying them food I am making sure it will not harm them in any way both short and long term I was not always like this. Before I adopted a plant based lifestyle back in 2013, I will eat anything and drink anything without actually thinking if it was right or wrong for my health.
All of these changed when I decided to turn the page on my bad nutrition and adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

Brown Rice

Recently I discovered that brown rice is more contaminated with an inorganic form of arsenic than white rice.

That made me concern a lot and also angry a little bit.

The reason I stop eating white rice is that on the long run it is not healthy for me. Brown rice has more health benefits. Now I am discovering that the brown rice that I eat is contaminated with inorganic arsenic poison.

By avoiding one culprit (white rice), I landed on another (arsenic contaminated brown rice), but this article is not about that. If you want to learn more about how I deal with it, you can check out my article.
Babies Are More Sensitive. 
 Babies are more sensitive to nutrition, and they eat in comparison with adults three times their body weight. This means they eat a lot of food, and if that food is contaminated with inorganic arsenic, they are more prone to health problems.

The various agencies around the world have set limits on how much inorganic arsenic should be allowed to be in food and in particular in babies food.

The limits vary, and they vary because unfortunately these organizational in bed with the food companies.

When government agencies that supposedly have the population health in mind get money from the food industry, you get the real picture. 

Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal. What Should We do.

No Limits…

In USA years of research and data clearly, show that the limit that will reduce cancer risks because of arsenic poisoning is 75ppb, but in the states, at the moment no limit on arsenic is set for nutrition!
China set it to 150 ppb which is better than nothing and the rest communities and organization that represent a big percentage of the country on this planet set it at 200 PPB.

The ideal would be not to have any arsenic in the food I eat and in the food we feed our babies with.

So what do we do? How do we ACT?

Studies showed that arsenic that you get through food and not just from water can cause genetic damage.

There are a lot of people that eat rice. About 3 billion worldwide have rice as their staple food (Bangladesh, Pakistan . China; Japan, Italy, France, Spain, etc.)

FDA the American agency responsible for the health of Americans  In announced restriction limits for inorganic arsenic in rice products that are made for babies.

Because of this, there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on Asi in food,especially for baby rice-based products.

European agencies also made recommendations that state that rice and rice based products for infants should be as small as possible. This says something to me it tells me that the arsenic contamination of rice is not something to joke about.  

Pregnant Women
About  90% of pregnant women consume rice grain or rice products. Each serving increases a woman’s day to day exposure to inorganic arsenic by about 5.2 – 7.8 μg/serving. Studies reviews show that fetuses may have increased susceptibility to severe health effects from the maternal inorganic arsenic consumption. In a nutshell, if the mother eats food contaminated with inorganic Arsenic the baby will have health problems which are logical. You are what you can absorb.
Now, what can a parent do? I search a lot of agencies from a variety of countries, and they all pretty much suggest the following.

Pregnant women should add to their diet other types of grains like wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, buckwheat, barley and so on. This will ensure that the woman will take proper nutrition.

Also, these other grains have lower levels of inorganic arsenic.

The FDA’s info shows that  (47% ) of infant rice cereals tested from retail stores in 2014 were below 100 ppb inorganic arsenic, the level set by the European Union for rice and rice products destined for infants and children. 

Foods Contaminated with Inorganic Arsenic.

The highest amount of inorganic arsenic in infant/Toddler foods was found in Organic Brown Rice Cereal,and Organic Greens Puss Sweetened with 100% Fruit Juice Made with Organic Whole Grains.

The best tactic will be to eliminate rice and rice products from the diets of infants and for children until 6 years old could reduce the lifetime cancer risk from inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products by 6% and 23% respectively.

In a nutshell, if an infant is not fed rice or any other rice products has an approximately 6% lower chance of developing bladder or lung cancer from arsenic contamination of these foods, over the lifetime, compared with an infant who is fed this product.


by Andreas Michaelides


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