TitleCo-exposure to methylmercury and inorganic arsenic in baby rice cereals and rice-containing teething biscuits.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRothenberg, SE, Jackson, BP, G McCalla, C, Donohue, A, Emmons, AM
JournalEnviron Res
Date Published11/2017
KeywordsArsenic, Arsenicals, Edible Grain, Food Contamination, Humans, Infant, Infant Food, Infant, Newborn, Methylmercury Compounds, United States

BACKGROUND: Rice is an important dietary source for methylmercury (MeHg), a potent neurotoxin, and inorganic arsenic (As), a human carcinogen. Rice baby cereals are a dietary source of inorganic As; however, less is known concerning MeHg concentrations in rice baby cereals and rice teething biscuits.

METHODS: MeHg concentrations were measured in 36 rice baby cereals, eight rice teething biscuits, and four baby cereals manufactured with oats/wheat (n = 48 total). Arsenic (As) species, including inorganic As, were determined in rice baby cereals and rice teething biscuits (n = 44/48), while total As was determined in all products (n = 48).

RESULTS: Rice baby cereals and rice teething biscuits were on average 61 and 92 times higher in MeHg, respectively, and 9.4 and 4.7 times higher in total As, respectively, compared to wheat/oat baby cereals. For a 15-g serving of rice baby cereal, average MeHg intake was 0.0092μgday (range: 0.0013-0.034μgday), while average inorganic As intake was 1.3μgday (range: 0.37-2.3μgday). Inorganic As concentrations in two brands of rice baby cereal (n = 12/36 boxes of rice cereal) exceeded 100ng/g, the proposed action level from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Log MeHg and inorganic As concentrations in rice baby cereals were strongly, positively correlated (Pearson's rho = 0.60, p < 0.001, n = 36).

CONCLUSIONS: Rice-containing baby cereals and teething biscuits were a dietary source of both MeHg and inorganic As. Studies concerning the cumulative impacts of MeHg and inorganic As on offspring development are warranted.

Alternate JournalEnviron. Res.
PubMed ID28938205
PubMed Central IDPMC5661960
Grant ListR15 ES022409 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
P42 ES007373 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
P30 CA023108 / CA / NCI NIH HHS / United States
L30 ES023165 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
UG3 OD023275 / OD / NIH HHS / United States
R21 ES026412 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States