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FDA warns parents about arsenic in rice cereal
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
16 years ago my daughter was born with severe reflux that triggered vagal responses and she would appear to go apneic. The solution for this was a combination of medication AND thickening my wife’s breast milk with rice cereal. Reflux solved, no further apnea. However, she consumed rice cereal for every meal for at least the 1st 6 months of her life (but I believe it was actually longer). Fast forward to elementary school and we began to note learning and behavior difficulties. She has had several psychological exams and cognitive evaluations with no definitive diagnoses, but does have some significant cognitive deficits and learning disabilities. Now it may be clear what was the underlying cause of it all…..
It is very important to know what the toddlers should avoid rather than what they can be fed with, great job by the FDA in recognizing the issue with the rice cereal.
Thank you for this article, but I ask you to please reword part of your first bullet point under the FDA and AAP’s suggestions. You wrote “…around 6 months of age (babies only need breastmilk or formula until 4 to 6 months)…” This is incorrect and not what the FDA or AAP have in their recommendations. I believe what you meant was that babies need to be EXCLUSIVELY fed breastmilk or formula for 6 months and then complimentary solids can be added. The way it is worded makes it sound that after 4 to 6 months babies don’t need breastmilk or formula, which is false. Babies should remain on breastmilk or formula along with complementary solids from 6 months until at LEAST one year old.
Taking into account that the main source of the inorganic arsenic seem to be pesticides, wouldn‘t it be more advisable to recomend eating rice from ecological agriculture?
Thanks for sharing this post. Really great article.
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