OBJECTIVE

Rice, one of the first solid foods introduced to infants, is 10 times more absorbent of inorganic arsenic than any other grain. An evaluation has not been performed about practitioner knowledge of arsenic content in infant foods. The purpose of this survey was to determine pediatric practitioners' knowledge of current US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendations to limit exposure to arsenic-containing foods in infants.

METHODS

This was a convenience sample of pediatric practitioners conducted as an online survey. The survey contained 19 questions related to knowledge of arsenic-containing foods, FDA recommendations, practitioner recommendations on feeding infants, and demographic information. Participants were recruited using organization list servs. Participants were reminded to complete the survey 2 months after the initial email. An infographic on arsenic was provided at the end of the survey.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-seven individuals completed the survey. The majority of respondents were physicians or pharmacists and have been in practice less than 6 years. Nine percent of respondents (11/123) stated the FDA arsenic limit of 100 ppb. Sixteen percent (20/123) identified white rice as having a lower inorganic arsenic content than brown rice and 27% (36/132) identified that there is no difference in inorganic arsenic content between organic infant rice cereal and conventional infant rice cereal.

CONCLUSIONS

The vast majority of participants were not aware of the FDA's proposed limit on arsenic consumption or the concern of heavy metals in baby foods. More education is needed to increase knowledge regarding arsenic in baby foods.

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