Millions of babies around the world consume rice cereals as their first solid food. But several studies claim that this same food contains inorganic arsenic, a chemical that could jeopardize the babies’ immune system and even cause cancer.
Cereal rice is a common meal of choice for infants before introducing them to solid food.
However, babies who consume cereal rice during the infancy stage were found to have twice the level of arsenic concentration in their urine, than those infants who did not eat cereal rice. Moreover, those infants who were given cereal rice several times each day have the highest levels of inorganic arsenic in their bodies, according to a paper published in the JAMA Pediatrics.
According to a report from the CNN, apart from the possible harm that arsenic may pose to the infants’ health, it is also linked to cancer. This, was even backed and validated by previous studies that investigated the association between early exposure to arsenic and its effects on a person’s latter life.
“Arsenic is a known carcinogen that can influence risk of cardiovascular, immune and other diseases. There’s a growing body of evidence that even relatively low levels of exposure can have an adverse impact on young children,” Dr. Margaret Karagas from the Dartmouth College was quoted as saying by the CNN.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proposed a recommended limit of arsenic in cereal rice at 100 parts per billion. The proposed regulation, which is still in the public comment phase, aims to reduce the exposure of infants to inorganic arsenic, which is considered a cancer-causing element.
The CDC added that inorganic arsenic, is much more harmful to humans when ingested. The other type of arsenic is the organic arsenic.