The American Chemical Society is reporting that scientists have uncovered high levels of methylmercury in some types of infant cereals. This presents a potential health risk to infants whose brains, organs and immune systems are still developing. When combined with recent laboratory testing uncovering high levels of arsenic and lead in leading brands of baby food, this makes a compelling case for parents to make their own* infant and baby foods using fresh, whole, organic ingredients.
Some infant rice cereals contain elevated levels of methylmercury
American Chemical Society
A study appearing in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reports that some types of infant rice cereal could also contain amounts of methylmercury that could potentially pose a health risk. Methylmercury is a form of mercury that, in high enough amounts, can cause neurological and reproductive problems in adults, and developmental issues in infants and young children. ..
The researchers tested 119 infant cereal samples made with a variety of grains. The products were purchased from different regions in the U.S. and China. Rice-based cereals had much higher levels of methylmercury than products with no rice, suggesting that the grain is a likely source of mercury. Rice cereal samples from the U.S. and China had similar levels, with a mean concentration of 2.28 micrograms of methylmercury per kilogram of product. Based on these results, the researchers estimated that infants who consume these products could ingest between 0.004 to 0.123 micrograms of methylmercury per kilogram of body weight daily. The potential health effects of this amount of mercury are hard to pin down. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a 0.1 microgram/kg/day reference daily dose (RfD) for methylmercury. However, the standard was calculated using factors that might not be relevant to baby cereal, the researchers say.
Journal Reference: Wenbin Cui, Guangliang Liu, Mayara Bezerra, Danielle A. Lagos, Yanbin Li, Yong Cai. Occurrence of Methylmercury in Rice-Based Infant Cereals and Estimation of Daily Dietary Intake of Methylmercury for Infants. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b03236
*DIY infant cereal recipes