Most parents of infants use rice-based cereals and baby foods to transition their child from breast milk (or formula) to solid foods. And the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends just this – beginning with dry infant rice cereal, and then adding in other foods at a later date. As such, it is no surprise that, relative to body weight, rice intake for infants is about three times that of rice intake for adults.
However, the recommendation may not be a sound one, especially in light of new evidence suggesting that babies who eat rice cereal have higher levels of arsenic within their bodies.
Arsenic Found in Rice-Based Foods
A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics highlights the fact that babies who are fed rice cereals are much more likely than are babies who do not eat rice to have higher concentrations of arsenic, which is found in the babies’ urine. Specifically, the highest concentrations of arsenic were found in the urine of babies who ate rice cereal. Babies who ate rice-based snacks were found to have double the amounts of arsenic than non-rice eaters.
How Does Arsenic Affect Babies’ Health?
The specific effects of arsenic on a baby’s health are unclear. However, scientists believe that potential adverse events include ill health effects, including both negative effects on brain development and immune health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are much more specific in their arsenic warnings, stating that arsenic exposure (of a certain volume) may cause multiple organ system effects, gastrointestinal effects, renal effects, cardiovascular effects, dermal effects, reproductive effects, neurological effects, and more.
What to Do If You Are a Parent of an Infant
If you are a parent of an infant, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, has issued a press release stating that parents should consider exposing their children to a variety of foods, not (just) rice cereals. The foods recommended by the agencies include wheat, oats, and pureed meats and veggies.
Your pediatrician has a duty to provide you with information regarding smart and healthy feeding of your baby. If you believe that arsenic in rice cereals has caused harm to your child, or have other concerns about your pediatrician’s treatment of your baby, you may have a cause of action.
How Our Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help You
The research surrounding arsenic in rice-based baby foods is still developing, and whether or not manufacturers or pedestrians might be held liable for harm caused to children is unclear at this point. At Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., we are committed to staying abreast of this and other important health issues, and passionately representing clients who have been harmed as a result of malpractice. To learn more, contact us today at 617-973-9950.