Keeping up to date with all the latest baby-related news is vital for new parents – and it’s now just been discovered that nearly half of all baby rice food products have illegal levels of inorganic arsenic in them, which could cause developmental problems in infants.
Research from Queen’s University Belfast compared arsenic levels in urine samples among breast or formula-fed babies both before and after weaning. A higher concentration of the poison was found in formula-fed babies, especially among those who were given non-dairy formulas including rice-fortified formulas for infants with dietary issues like dairy or what intolerance.
Weaning was also found to increase a baby’s exposure to arsenic, with infants five times more exposed to arsenic post-weaning – which emphasises the association between rice-based products and exposure to arsenic.
Lead author of the study Professor Andy Meharg said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Checking the ingredients when buying baby food is certainly advisable, so you can make more informed decisions about what to give your children. Alternatively, instead of looking for shop-bought products you could consider making your own baby food, pureeing it up until it’s smooth. Good options for this include sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash and peaches – but make sure your child is ready for solid foods before you begin.
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