7 things pregnant women need to know about arsenic in rice and cereals

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In fact, rice is not the only food or drink that contains arsenic. They are also found in vegetables, fruits and many other foods. Experts have been monitoring the presence of arsenic in food as part of ongoing safety monitoring. And now we learn about arsenic in infant rice cereal.

1. What is arsenic? (Arsenal)

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element found in combination with inorganic or organic substances to form many different compounds. These compounds occur naturally or through mining, smelting and industrial use of arsenic. Organic arsenic compounds are found mainly in fish and shellfish. In the past, inorganic arsenic was used in pesticides and paint pigments. They are also used as wood preservatives and to treat a variety of diseases. Today, the use of arsenic-containing pesticides and wood preservatives has been somewhat restricted.
Arsenic is strictly regulated in drinking water but is legal in any amount in infant cereals and rice. It is a human carcinogen and a neurotoxin that has been shown to permanently reduce the IQ of children.
Rice cereal is the leading source of arsenic exposure for young children. Parents who feed their children foods that include rice cereals can reduce their children's arsenic exposure by using different foods. A new study found arsenic in all brands of infant rice cereals tested, and lower levels in all brands of non-rice and multigrain cereals.

2. How does arsenic get into food?

Arsenic is an element present in the earth's crust and in very small amounts in water, soil and air. Plants absorb arsenic as they grow. There are two forms of arsenic, organic and inorganic, of which inorganic is inherently more toxic. The term "organic" in this case has nothing to do with the type of farming. It's about chemical elements. If the arsenic atoms are bonded to the carbon, the compound is organic. Without carbon, it is inorganic.
Thạch tín Asen 1
Thạch tín là một nguyên tố có trong vỏ trái đất

3. How is arsenic in rice affected?

Rice is a staple of the global diet and is also the leading dietary source of inorganic arsenic. This is due to its prevalence and because as rice and cereal crops grow they tend to absorb arsenic more readily than other food crops.
In 2013, the FDA released test data for inorganic arsenic levels in most rice grains, rice-based foods, and beverages consumed in the United States. The agency tested about 1,300 samples of rice and rice products. The FDA continued to test for arsenic in infant rice cereal in 2014 and 2018. The trial was expanded to include infant rice cereal because, relative to body weight, infants Infants consume about three times more rice than adults, mainly through infant rice cereal. In fact, data show that infants consume the most rice, relative to their weight, mainly at 8 months of age because cereals are often a major component of infants' diets.

4. What are the potential health effects?

We have known for a long time that arsenic is a carcinogen. However, concern has recently been raised about arsenic exposure and its potential effects on infant development.
In addition to extensive testing, the FDA has completed a thorough analysis of a growing group of scientific studies linking adverse pregnancy outcomes to relatively high intakes of inorganic arsenic in pregnancy. The agency also found that exposure can cause children to lose performance on certain developmental tests that measure learning.
Regarding cancer, the FDA estimates that exposure to inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products causes an additional 4 cases of lung and bladder cancer over the course of life for every 100,000 people in the United States. This estimate would account for less than 1% of lung and bladder cancer cases nationwide.
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5. If you have small children or are pregnant, what should you do?

Based on FDA findings on inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, the agency offers the following advice to parents and caregivers of infants. It is consistent with the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Feed your child iron-fortified cereal to make sure he or she gets all of the important nutrients Iron-fortified rice cereal is a good source of nutrition for your child, but it's not the only source and it's not first source. Other complementary infant cereals include oats, barley, and multi-grains. For toddlers, provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of grains. Also based on FDA findings, pregnant women would cautiously consume a variety of foods, including different grains (such as wheat, oats, and barley) for good nutrition. Published studies, including new FDA research, show that cooking rice in excess water (6 to 10 parts water to one part rice), and draining excess water, can be reduced by 40 up to 60% inorganic arsenic, depending on the type of rice, although this method can also remove some key nutrients.

6. If you are an adult, what should you do?

FDA has found no scientific or public health basis to recommend that the general population change their rice consumption based on the presence of arsenic.
However, the agency's general advice about eating a balanced diet is not based on any single food but applies to all consumers, including toddlers, older children, and adults. adult. Eating a variety of foods is more nutritious, and if substances are present in foods (such as arsenic) reducing exposure is essential.
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Các chuyên gia y tế khuyến cáo mọi người nên có một chế độ ăn uống cân bằng đa dạng loại thực phẩm

7. What are the symptoms of arsenic poisoning?

Symptoms of arsenic poisoning can be acute, severe, immediate, or chronic where health is compromised for a longer period of time.
A person who has ingested arsenic may develop signs and symptoms within 30 minutes. These may include: drowsiness, headache, confusion, severe diarrhea. If you inhale arsenic, or drink a less concentrated amount, symptoms may take longer to develop. As arsenic poisoning progresses, the patient may begin to convulsions and nail pigmentation may change.
Our bodies consume rice or cereals containing high levels of arsenic can lead to long-term complications, so it is important that you share your condition and problems with your doctor, specialist. nutritionist to find the right advice

Please dial HOTLINE for more information or register for an appointment HERE. Download MyVinmec app to make appointments faster and to manage your bookings easily.

This article is written for readers from Sài Gòn, Hà Nội, Hồ Chí Minh, Phú Quốc, Nha Trang, Hạ Long, Hải Phòng, Đà Nẵng.

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