Dangers in Feeding a Baby Rice Cereal: Avoid Rice Grown in the Gulf Coast

How to Reduce Arsenic in Your Diet

Yesterday we learned that the rice grown from Texas and Louisiana and along the Gulf coast where fields were used to grow cotton a century ago have the highest level of arsenic because when there was cotton there they had to treat the cotton with arsenic pesticides to control the bowl weevil. Now, that arsenic is still in the soil. The arsenic is also found in the rice grown today in those fields. So the FDA recommends eating rice from California and Asia, not from the Gulf coast.
This is especially upsetting since the first cereal most infants eat is rice cereal.
Here is a list from ConsmerReports of arsenic found in foods.

In response to this news the Environmental Working Group explains how to reduce arsenic in your diet.
With two reports out today from the federal Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports magazine showing that a number of popular rice-based foods are contaminated with arsenic, a known human carcinogen, Environmental Working Group offers several easy-to-use tips on how to reduce your dietary exposure.
“In many cases the arsenic found in food comes from natural sources, but that doesn’t mean it is safe,” said Sonya Lunder, senior research analyst at EWG. “Arsenic is known to cause cancer in humans, and FDA needs to do everything possible to reduce people’s exposure. Unfortunately, the agency has spent the past 20 years testing foods without making any recommendations on what consumers can do to reduce their risk. The public should not wait for FDA; there are number steps people can take that will dramatically reduce the amount of arsenic they ingest.”
What consumers can do to reduce their own exposure:

  • Eat a varied diet and try out alternatives to rice such as quinoa, barley, grits/polenta, couscous or bulgur wheat.
  • Boil brown rice in a lot of water (as you do with pasta). Evidence suggests that can lower arsenic levels. White rice does not hold up as well to this method of cooking.
  • What parents can do to reduce children’s exposure:

  • For babies, try orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash, bananas and avocados as first solid foods.
  • Buy non-rice baby cereals, such a s oatmeal or mixed grains.
  • Do not use rice milk as a dairy substitute.
  • Limit fruit juices to a maximum of on-half to one cup per day.
    • CONTACT: EWG Public Affairs: Alex Formuzis (202) 667.6982 or alex@ewg.org



    1. So where do I look to find where the rice is grown?

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