Arsenic in infant cereal: Simple solutions close to home

Jane Houlihan, Research Director, Healthy Babies Bright Futures
December 6, 2017
Bowl of Infant Cereal

It has been a year of outsized news, startling problems, and divisive solutions. But for some families, the biggest news of all happened right at home: a new baby. And for these families, the biggest problems may be close to home, too.

Our new tests of 105 infant cereals found six times more arsenic in rice cereal than in other types of infant cereal. Arsenic causes cancer and permanently harms a child’s ability to learn. It contaminates many foods, but infant rice cereal is babies’ top exposure source.

Thankfully, this startling problem has a simple solution: parents can simply choose other types of infant cereal.

Our tests found reliably lower arsenic levels in infant cereals made from oatmeal, multi-grains, barley, wheat, quinoa, and buckwheat. Switching from infant rice cereal to other types will lower your baby’s exposures to arsenic in cereals by 84%. It’s as easy as making a different choice in the cereal aisle. Learn more and take action:

  • HBBF’s full study includes a full list of brands, retailers, and test results.
  • Get our "8 Simple Ways to Protect Your Family from Arsenic Contamination in Rice and Other Foods" (available in English or Spanish), including what to do if your whole family eats a lot of rice. (Sneak peek: cooking rice in extra water is one of a few things we recommend).
  • You can also help us get arsenic out of babies’ cereal. We’re asking Gerber to reduce arsenic levels in its rice cereals to the same low levels we find in other Gerber cereals. Take action today.

In a year of outsized news, you won’t find any political wrangling or disruptive hashtags here. This news is all about a small baby that deserves healthy food for the best possible start in life. It’s simple enough to start today.