Researchers from Dartmouth College have published a new study revealing alarmingly high levels of arsenic in rice-based foods, including organic toddler formula and cereal bars. The government regulates arsenic in drinking water, imposing a federal limit of 10 parts per billion, but has yet to establish a limit for arsenic in food. While many foods commonly show trace amounts of arsenic, rice plants are particularly susceptible to “taking up” the naturally occurring compound. As a result, researchers say some rice products—especially those containing concentrated rice ingredients such as brown rice syrup—contain arsenic levels as high as 128 parts per billion. Dartmouth researchers recommend that people with diets rich in rice diversify their grains, since the safety threshold hasn’t been defined.
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