Exposed to arsenic rate

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Brian Jackson from Dartmouth College and others conducted a study to determine the concentrations of arsenic in food products containing organic brown rice syrup, including infant formula, cereal and high-energy foods used by endurance athletes. The previous study showed some juice samples exceeded federal limits on arsenic in place for drinking water, prompting concern from consumer groups and American lawmakers.

The Dartmouth study did not provide the arsenic levels for the various products tested, but noted that high arsenic levels appear endemic to all that use brown rice syrup. Cereal bars and high-energy foods using organic brown rice syrup also had higher arsenic concentrations than those without the syrup, said Jackson, member of Dartmouth’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) who led the study.

Even though other products, such as energy shots and cereal bars failed this arsenic test as well, the organic baby formula raised more of a red flag because this is the primary source of nutrition for babies. Many people consider brown rice syrup a healthy alternative to cane sugar, but brown rice syrup comes with a serious disadvantage: high levels of arsenic.

For the latest study, published on Thursday, the team tested 17 baby formulas, 29 cereal bars and three energy shots that were purchased in the Hanover, New Hampshire area. “Because of their low body weight, if they are exposed to arsenic, then they are exposed to a disproportionately high exposure rate on a high kilogram body weight basis,” Jackson said.