"Baby formulas that use organic brown rice syrup as a sweetener, may be contaminated with high levels of arsenic. The majority of the arsenic that was detected was found to be the type that is a human carcinogen. The study was published in Consumer Reports today.
Researchers at Dartmouth College tested 17 infant formulas. Two of these formulas listed organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient. One of these formulas had an arsenic level that was six times the federal legal limit of arsenic allowed in bottled water or public drinking water. It is noted that these high levels are “particularly worrisome for babies because they are especially vulnerable to arsenic’s toxic effects due to their small size.“
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that occurs in rocks and soil. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), inorganic arsenic exposure can cause symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and shock. Chronic exposure to inorganic arsenic has been associated with skin disorders, high blood pressure and cancer.
Currently the limit for arsenic in bottled water is 10 ppb (parts per billion.) There is no federal limit for arsenic in fruit juices and most foods. According to Consumer Reports, legislation was recently introduced to the House of Representatives asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish standards for arsenic in foods and juices.
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Because there is currently no regulation of arsenic levels in food, Dr. Jackson, the lead author of the Dartmouth study says: “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.”
According to Dr. Jackson, brown rice syrup can have high arsenic concentrations whether the rice is grown “organically or not.” The rice takes up the natural arsenic from the soil. High arsenic levels were also found in cereal bars that used brown rice syrup as a sweetener."
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