By Erin O'Donnell

Foods made with organic brown rice syrup, including infant formulas and cereal bars, may contain particularly high levels of inorganic arsenic, a new study finds.

Chronic exposure to even low levels of inorganic arsenic has been linked to increased risk of cancer,  Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, MyHealthNewsDaily reports.

Brown rice syrup is often included in organic products as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup.

This study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that some cereal bars made with brown rice syrup "have concentrations of arsenic that are 12 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's safe drinking water limit of 10 parts per billion," MyHealthNewsDaily reports. There are currently no U.S. regulations on the amount of arsenic allowed in food.

Lead researcher Brian Jackson of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire says his team analyzed the arsenic in 17 infant formulas, 29 cereal bars and three energy "shot" products, all of which contain organic brown rice syrup, rice flour, rice flakes, or grains of rice. Previous research found that rice is a major source of arsenic in the diet.

The arsenic content of baby formulas made with organic brown rice syrup is especially worrisome, Jackson says.

Image: Infant formula via Shutterstock.

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