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February 17, 2012

Don’t Worry Mom: No Arsenic in Baby Formula

Filed under: General Information — Tags: , , — Elizabeth Ward @ 1:31 pm

A new study from Darmouth College has found arsenic in products that contain organic brown rice syrup, including cereal bars, energy shots, and toddler formulas, but NOT infant formula.

Unfortunately, many news stories have wrongly reported that infant formula contains high levels of arsenic, which may hamper the development of a child’s brain and nervous function. Erroneous reports have lumped all the formulas tested into the infant formula category when, in fact, toddler formulas are meant for children over the age of 12 months. Infants are children who are 12 months or younger.

Infant formula ingredients are tightly controlled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Organic brown rice syrup is not authorized for use in infant formula, according to the FDA.

Mom, there is no need to worry about infant formula. In fact, a 2011 study of arsenic in powdered infant formula found that the maximum levels are at least six times lower than the maximums for drinking water established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

So what did the Dartmouth study reveal? High levels of arsenic in two TODDLER formulas that had contained organic brown rice syrup, the source of arsenic in the cereal bars and energy shots.

Baby’s Only Organic Dairy Toddler Formula and Baby’s Only Organic Soy Toddler Formula, made by the Nature’s One company, contained arsenic levels that were far above the limits set by the EPA for drinking water.

Organic brown rice syrup is used as a sweetener, often in place of high fructose corn syrup. Organic brown rice syrup supplies concentrated levels of arsenic, which is found in water, air, food, and soil as a naturally occurring substance or due to contamination from human activity. You cannot completely avoid arsenic.

Why organic brown rice syrup is allowed as an ingredient in toddler formulas, and in other foods, is beyond me. But that’s another matter.

Bottom line: Don’t worry about infant formula. It’s safe to feed to your baby.

By the way, here’s one story that accurately reported what the Dartmouth study found. Kudos, WebMD!

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