Health Alert: Rice-Based Cereals for Infants Contain More Mercury

November 07, 2017

When babies are starting to eat solid foods for the first time, it can be hard for parents to know where to turn to first. Many choose rice-based cereals, as they’re often marketed as a convenient and safe option. A recent study, though, showed why these cereals might not be as good as you think.

When women get pregnant, they are cautioned to avoid mercury as much as possible. This is why pregnant women are warned away from eating certain fish.

Methylmercury is especially dangerous. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, “Methylmercury is a form of mercury that, in high enough amounts, can cause neurological and reproductive problems with adults, and developmental issues in infants and young children.”

Recently, another source of mercury exposure has emerged in studies: rice. Previously, studies found that methylmercury was detected in rice that is grown in polluted areas. These levels of methylmercury could pose potential health risks to people who eat rice every day. The latest study tested “whether commercial rice cereal for infants also contain the substance.”

The researchers found that infant cereal samples that were rice-based contained significantly more methylmercury than products that were based on other grains. According to the study, “infants who consume these products could ingest between 0.004 to 0.123 micrograms of methylmercury per kilogram of body weight daily.” The Environmental Protection Agency has set the safe daily dose to 0.1 microgram/kg/day.

While most of these rice products do fall within the safe dose for infants, it might be unsafe if the infant is exposed to other sources of mercury. Some of these foods are fish, breast milk, and high-fructose corn syrup.

Your friends and family are probably safe from this health alert but always head to the doctor if anything seems off. Instead of relying only on rice-based products, try working in products based on other grains to be safe.

Share this with your friends and family to make sure they’re safe! Check out this article for more details on the research.

In other news, sweet baby-cuddling “ICU grandpa.” Read the story here.

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