A new study conducted by Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School suggests that organic brown rice syrup, a sweetener used in organic and gluten-free foods, including baby formula, may be a hidden source of arsenic—prompting researchers to believe there is an urgent need to set regulatory limits and/or pull all formulas found to contain brown rice syrup.
Arsenic can occur naturally in groundwater. If exposed at low levels, arsenic can raise the risks of cancer and heart disease. The potential presence of the chemical element in formula is “particularly worrisome for babies because they are especially vulnerable to arsenic’s toxic effects,” the Dartmouth researchers said. Chronic arsenic exposure has been linked to lower IQ and poor intellectual function.
Researchers from Dartmouth College and Dartmouth Medical School took a closer look at foods that use organic brown rice syrup and found evidence that some baby formulas, cereal bars and energy shots contained levels of arsenic that were significantly higher than the 10-parts-per-billion federal limit for drinking or bottled water.
The study found:
- Two of the 17 infant formulas tested listed brown rice syrup as one of the main ingredients.
- One had an arsenic concentration level that was 6 times the federal rules on arsenic in water.
- 22 of the 29 cereal bars or energy bars tested had arsenic levels ranging from 23 to 128 ppb, all well above the federal limits on water.
- Tests of high-energy products known as “energy shots” showed that one of the three blocks contained 84 ppb of total arsenic, and the other two contained 171 ppb.
Parents are cautioned to avoid all formulas made using brown rice ingredients.
Despite the study findings, there are currently no U.S. regulatory limits for arsenic levels in food or baby formula—which means there’s little to prevent consumers, and babies, from being exposed to potentially harmful levels of the chemical.
More tests still need to be conducted to confirm if the levels of arsenic found in baby formula are dangerous and if they should be pulled from the shelves. Still, it’s important to be fully aware of the potential dangers lurking in your baby formula. Besides, who wants to feed their baby arsenic—even if it’s just a little bit? The thought is chilling.
Please share this information with your friends and family and warn them about the presence of this potentially harmful chemical found in our baby formula and food.