Consumer Reports published a report Sept. 19 on arsenic in foods made from rice. At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the first part of what will be a much larger study of arsenic in foods. The findings are that arsenic is present in quantities that might increase an individual’s life-time risk of cancer when children consume typical amounts of rice products.
While additional research, including the results of the ongoing FDA study, will be needed to provide detailed recommendations, the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that at the individual level, offering children a variety of foods, including products made from oats and wheat, will decrease children’s exposure to arsenic derived from rice. In addition, if parents raise questions about arsenic in juice products, they can be reminded that it is not necessary to offer children any juice in a well-balanced, healthy diet; and that for years the AAP has recommended limited intake of all sweet beverages, including juice.
At the public policy level, the AAP will work with the FDA and other federal agencies to limit the use of arsenical compounds and participate in discussions about decreasing arsenic exposure through food and beverages.
The AAP has collected resources for members to help them respond to parent concerns about arsenic in rice products.
FDA:Arsenic in Rice
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Arsenic FAQ
ConsumerReports article, “Arsenic in Your Food”
AAP speaking points on arsenic in rice (member log-in required)
AAP Background on Arsenic
AAP News article
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.