Rice and related products are a common ingredient in young children’s diets from rice cereal to cereal bars children and adults consume the grain on a constant matter. But according to investigators, the consumption could harm the human system.
The research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics (JAMA) indicates that rice intake results in high arsenic levels in the human body.
According to investigators in the study, the alarming results could mean a harm to the immune system of the children’s consuming it.
Investigations on arsenic levels
Arsenic is commonly found in water, oils and soil since different species of bacteria use arsenic compounds as respiratory metabolites.
The chemical is a basic on diets of animals and humans, but arsenic poisoning is possible when larger amounts are consumed. Arsenic contamination of groundwater has been a problem for many years in societies.
Arsenic is found in rice and related products because of the growing process since rice sets on water the grains are hydrated by the arsenic found in the water. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that rice is the food with higher arsenic concentration.
According to the recent study, high arsenic levels have been found in white and brown rice after evaluating the urine of children who consume rice on an almost daily basis.
Research and data
The team led by Margaret Karagas, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Dartmouth College, studied the data from children enrolled in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study. The data collected interview’s with the children’s parents about the daily intake the kids had.
Evaluating the children’s urine researchers found that around 80 percent of the children consumed rice related products in the first year of their life. The arsenic concentration has proven to be twice as high on rice-consuming children that in those who don’t eat rice products.
“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,” said Karagas, the main author of the research.
Recently the FDA proposed a limit of 100 parts per billion inorganic arsenic in products such as rice cereal, the limit comes as a response to reduce the levels of arsenic intake in humans.
Meaning and solutions
A study made back in 2004 on water with arsenic exposure and kid’s intellectual levels, suggested that the intake could mean lower intellectual results.
As for now, white, brown and wild rice have been proven as the highest on arsenic exposure, although rice syrup which is commonly used as a sweetener also presents high levels.
The FDA has yet to comment on what are the exact levels of arsenic exposure a children or adults can be exposed to. In the meantime, pediatricians and experts are assuring mashed vegetables are always a good way to teach your kids how to eat solids.