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How to make sure your baby's first foods are safe

What is safe enough for baby? If you are a new parent, this question is probably something you consider frequently. A new report from an alliance of scientists points to risks associated with a narrow rice cereal diet.

Baby cereal and other on-the-go first baby foods like puffs often contain rice. Rice plants draw up inorganic arsenic from soil and water, brown rice absorbs even more. And newer research links arsenic exposure to cognitive and behavioral problems in young children.

Parts per billion related to smaller size

Epidemiologist Margaret Karagas at Dartmouth recently told the New York Times, “It’s just like lead: we don’t think there is a safe level.” The FDA has yet to set comprehensive standards on what is safe.

And while many baby food companies are seeking to source rice with lower arsenic levels, the average level in rice cereals is 85 parts per billion (back in 2014 testing showed an average of 103 parts per billion). Infants, with such small bodies, are more vulnerable even at these low levels and getting higher exposure right as their brains are developing.

What to do

A practical solution from a nutritionist is to expose babies to a variety of foods. Look for organic grains, such as barley, buckwheat, quinoa and oatmeal on labels to lower arsenic exposure risks. Another rather easy suggestion is to cook rice in excess water. By draining excess water, you can cut exposure by up to half.

Baby food manufactures also have an obligation to provide safe products for our smallest and most vulnerable little people. Products liability laws are there to protect and punish when standards are breached. As we learn more about arsenic exposure, the food industry must take action to ensure baby foods do not cause harm.

Proving that a product was dangerous or could have been formulated differently to ensure safety requires an experienced team. If you are concerned that an unsafe product caused an injury to your child, speak with one of the attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse. Our attorneys handle defective products claims and can explain the New York legal requirements.

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