A new study has found worrisome levels of arsenic in some baby foods, leading researchers to call for regulatory limits on arsenic in food.
The study, conducted by Dartmouth College, found that two of 17 infant formulas listed organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient; arsenic is often found in rice. One of the formulas had an arsenic concentration six times the federal limit.
Researchers also found rice-based ingredients in the majority of cereal or energy bars tested for the study. Elevated levels of arsenic were found in apple juice, grape juice, and energy shots popular among endurance athletes.
Researchers have also found arsenic in rice-fortified baby foods, and some fruit and vegetable purees for babies.
“In the absence of regulations for levels of arsenic in food, I would certainly advise parents who are concerned about their children's exposure to arsenic not to feed them formula where brown rice syrup is the main ingredient,” Brian Jackson, Ph.D., lead author of this latest study and a member of Dartmouth’s Superfund Research Program, said in a release.
Jackson said that brown rice syrup typically has higher arsenic concentrations than other sweeteners because the rice takes natural arsenic from the soil, which ends up in the final product.
Researchers say people can take the following precautions to limit arsenic exposure:
-Add variety to your diet if it's currently heavily rice-based.
-Limit children's consumption of formula that has organic brown rice syrup as a main ingredient.
-Limit how many cereal and energy bars you eat. An occasional one is not harmful.
The study was printed in the journal Environment Health Perspectives Thursday. Click here to read more.