Of all the contaminants that affect the food supply, one of the most frightening is arsenic. Even the word itself connotes poison, and even relatively small amounts of exposure may lead to greater incidence of heart disease and cancer. It is also a large source of worry for parents in Louisiana and elsewhere because it has been linked to lower levels of intellectual function among children.

Now comes word from a new study that found that many products containing organic brown rice syrup could have elevated levels of arsenic. Many of the potentially dangerous products made with the syrup are organic and gluten-free, including baby formula, energy shots and cereal bars.

Brown rice is more susceptible to arsenic contamination than many other foods, owing at least in part to how it is grown. However, while there are federal standards for drinking water and bottled water, there are no similar standards for arsenic in food products. The Food and Drug Administration has been considering regulations for a while now, but as of yet, nothing has been done.

While many people can likely handle small amounts of arsenic in food, babies and other young children may be more affected simply because their brains, as well as the rest of their bodies, are still growing and developing. Parents who think their children may have been adversely affected by arsenic from organic brown rice syrup may wish to speak with a products liability attorney who can advise them of their options.

Source: Time, “Oh, Baby: There May Be Arsenic in Your Infant Formula,” Bryan Walsh, Feb. 16, 2012