Organic, baby foods high in arsenic content

Organic, baby foods high in arsenic content

All those who swear by organic food or prefer baby food formulas are in for a rude shock - they may be high in arsenic content, known for toxicity and as a potential carcinogen.

Brian Jackson from Dartmouth College and others conducted a study to determine the concentrations of arsenic in food products containing organic brown rice syrup, including infant formula, cereal and high-energy foods used by endurance athletes.

The results were alarming. One of the infant formulas had a total arsenic concentration of six times the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safe drinking water limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb), the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reports.

Cereal bars and high-energy foods using organic brown rice syrup also had higher arsenic concentrations than those without the syrup, said Jackson, member of Dartmouth’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) who led the study.

Jackson and colleagues purchased commercial food products containing organic brown rice syrup and compared these with similar products that did not contain the syrup, according to a Dartmouth statement.

Seventeen infant formulas, 29 cereal bars, and three energy “shots” were all purchased from local stores. Of the 17 infant milk formulas tested, only two had listed organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient.

These two formulas, one dairy-based and one soy-based, were extremely high in arsenic, more than 20 times greater than the other formulas.

The amount of inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form, averaged 8.6 ppb for the dairy based formula and 21.4 ppb for the soy formula, the study showed.

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