Arsenic in rice

Arsenic in rice

Dr. Stan (Stan Cohen MD)

Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.

The earth's minerals are commonly absorbed and incorporated into foods that we eat. In fact, it is one of the ways we get certain minerals like zinc, selenium and copper, in our diet. But in addition to the good-for-you minerals can also include toxic metals like arsenic. 

We don't need arsenic nor can we use it in our bodies. Too much arsenic can accumulate and may increase risk for cancer. Unfortunately, we don't know how much is too much, that is being studied.

What we do know is that arsenic is more present in rice than other foods. This includes rice and any products made from rice like rice cereal. Since infant rice cereal is often the first solid food and also used to thicken formulas to reduce spitting up, the amount of arsenic is of concern.

The Food and Drug Adminstration has proposed limits on arsenic in infant rice cereal.

Rice cereal fortified with iron is a good source of nutrients for a babies first food but there are also other options. You can also try other iron-fortified infant cereals such as oat, barley and multigrain.

Only oat should be used initially for infants where a sibling or parent has celiac disease.. For more on this topic, see What to Feed Your Baby

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