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Keeping up with the news can be a little scary when you’re raising a baby. With headlines like “A new study finds 6 times more arsenic in infant rice cereal than in other infant cereals,” how can you not worry about what you’re putting into your baby’s body?
Recent studies have shown that companies have significantly reduced the level of arsenic in rice cereal, but it is left up to us, as parents, to decide if we are comfortable with that number or not.
Why is rice cereal so popular? Parents choose rice cereal because it is a simple food and has an incredible amount of iron that babies need.
How much iron do baby’s need?
- Infants ages 7–12 months need 11 milligrams of iron a day.
- Toddlers ages 1–3 years need 7 milligrams of iron each day.
- Kids ages 4–8 years need 10 milligrams of iron each day.
What do high levels of arsenic mean for babies’ health? Arsenic is known to cause cancer and permanently reduces a child’s ability to learn. Rice cereal is babies’ top source of arsenic exposure.
Why does rice cereal contain so much arsenic? Rice tends to absorb 10 times more arsenic from the environment than other grains. A study found arsenic in all brands of infant rice cereal tested, and lower levels in all brands of non-rice and multi-grain cereals.
What can you do as a parent? Parents who include infant rice cereal in their baby’s diet can immediately lower their child’s arsenic exposures simply by switching to oatmeal, multi-grain, and other non-rice cereals.
We have listed the top alternatives to rice cereal that will still give your baby plenty of iron, while significantly reducing the amount of arsenic they are exposed to.