Last Year Dr. Mehmet Oz, who many people are familiar with as the host of “The Dr. Oz Show” created a big buzz about arsenic levels in a large portion of different brands of apple juice. In fact, about 30% of them were over the limit for drinking water which is 10 parts per billion. What might be scarier than the fact that there are acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water is the fact that in the US there are no federal limits set for food. Because of this, amounts of arsenic that are even higher than the limit for drinking water are sneaking into our foods, and recent research from Dartmouth College has found unacceptable levels in the one food item that any new parent should be concerned about: infant formula.
Even more bothersome than the fact that dangerous levels of arsenic have been found in infant formula is the fact that the brands sampled also advertise as being organic, which one would think would have much less a chance of being tainted with toxins such as this. It seems that organic brown rice syrup, which is used as a sweetener in many organic foods, could be the culprit. Arsenic is found in soil many times, and since rice is more prone to absorption of minerals from the soil it is possible that this is how it ended up in sweeteners.
In addition to formulas, a number of cereal bars containing organic brown rice syrup were tested and found to contain higher levels of arsenic. A total of 17 brands of formula and 29 different cereal bars were tested, and one of the formulas even contained arsenic levels that were 6 times higher than the drinking water levels of 10 ppb. No brand names have been released, and no recalls have been issued, but it’s ever more important to read the labels when shopping. Especially for your newborn.