Many people think – or at least hope – that infant baby formula has got to be some of safest, most carefully monitored food on the grocery shelves. Not so, says Brian Jackson and his team of researchers from Dartmouth University’s Trace Element Analysis Laboratory.
In a study published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, the team reported that some organic infant milk formula and rice-based cereal had concentrations of inorganic arsenic up to six times the levels the EPA says is safe for drinking water. The arsenic levels were even higher in other food products tested by the scientists.
Rice has been shown repeatedly to absorb arsenic and other contaminants from the soil and water in which it is grown.
The study, funded by federal grants, also found high levels of the cancer-causing heavy metal in other cereal, energy bars and endurance liquids called “energy shots.” The researchers reported that the arsenic came from organic brown rice syrup that is used as a substitute sweetener believed to be healthier than the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup used in many foods.
The New Hampshire team criticized the federal government for failing to have any regulations which address the levels of arsenic in food.
“We conclude that there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on arsenic in food,” the study concluded.
For several years, many consumer and public health groups have urged Congress to introduce and enforce arsenic levels.
Little has happened.