The FDA is trying to reduce arsenic levels in cereal, especially in rice-based cereal that are primarily targeted at infants. The “Food and Drug Administration” emitted new guidelines for the use of the inorganic substance in order to prevent any illness based on inorganic arsenic.
It seems that the new rules emitted by the FDA are reducing the maximum amount of inorganic arsenic found in cereal to one hundred part per billion.
The biggest surprise here is the fact that the implication of the administration was needed. Arsenic poisoning could cause severe long-term damage to children, including death.
Arsenic is rarely found in nature on its own. Usually, the chemical element can be found in bonds with other metals. There are two major types of arsenic. Organic arsenic which is mostly found in animal tissue and plants and inorganic arsenic which can be accessed in soil or rocks. The latter is water soluble, so any water sources that come in contact with soil or rocks that are rich in the substance become contaminated.
Because of the increasing levels of pollution, the levels of naturally occurring arsenic have spiked. Due to its nature, rice is capable of absorbing significant amounts of inorganic arsenic from its environment. And that contaminated rice ends up being used for rice milk, rice bran, rice crackers, cereal bars, rice syrup or rice cereal that are then fed to small children.
The primary source of arsenic pollution are certain herbicides and pesticides, phosphate fertilizers, wood preservatives, mining activities, industrial waste, smelting and coal burning. After the inorganic rice reaches the environment, it infiltrates in the groundwater that is later used for cooking and irrigation.
When people consume more than one hundred part per billion of arsenic, they could suffer serious long-term health issues like cancer, vascular disease, hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. Moreover, arsenic can have toxic effects on nerve cells, and it may tamper with brain functions.
Children that eat rice-based cereal often are in danger of developing impaired memory, learning, concentration and even reduced social competence and intelligence.
That is why the FDA is trying to reduce arsenic levels in cereal. Even without realizing, parents exposed their children to the risk of arsenic intoxication. There is no direct culprit in this matter. And the FDA is not trying to convince the population to stop buying rice-based products altogether.
The most important thing is to check the label of all rice foods you may want to buy to verify if they are in accordance with the latest rules emitted by the FDA.
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