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Child & Teen Health

FDA warns parents about arsenic in rice cereal

April 5, 2016

About the Author

photo of Claire McCarthy, MD

Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Claire McCarthy, MD, is a primary care pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. In addition to being a senior faculty editor for Harvard Health Publishing, Dr. McCarthy … See Full Bio
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May 1, 2016

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…..

April 15, 2016

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.

Rebekah Moser
April 7, 2016

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.

Carmela Ruz
April 6, 2016

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?

Dencil Pumps
April 6, 2016

Thanks for sharing this post. Really great article.

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