Babies Who Eat Rice Cereal Found to Have Higher Arsenic Levels -- Yikes

baby eating rice cereal Transitioning a baby to solid food can often raise a lot of questions for parents: What's the best cereal? Is my child getting the right amount of nutrients? One thing you probably don't ponder is if you're actually harming your child with your food choice. But now research is suggesting that rice cereal -- often baby's first solid -- is causing arsenic to show up in infants' urine.

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A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics finds babies who ate white or brown rice cereals as well as other rice-based snacks have higher concentrations of arsenic in their urine when compared with their non–rice eating peers.

That's really frightening, especially because rice seems completely harmless and is recommended by so many pediatricians -- especially as a way to treat a baby with diarrhea.

More from The Stir: 9 First Foods for Baby That Put Boring Rice Cereal to Shame

So, just how dangerous is this exposure? The lead researcher on the study, epidemiologist Margaret Karagas -- who studies the effects of toxic metals at Dartmouth College -- told NPR:

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.

More from The Stir: Starting Baby on Solid Foods: What You Need to Know

It makes you sick to think about, doesn't it? Here you are as a parent shoveling in that baby food and feeling so overjoyed when your infant chows down. It's devastating to learn that the food you've been advised to give could actually have harmful effects.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends serving baby a wide variety of foods, including pureed veggies, ground beef, diced fruits, and an array of grains.

 

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