A network of experts in reproductive and children’s environmental health

Arsenic in Food

A Resource for Health Professionals 

Health professionals are encouraged to follow the guidance below to help navigate discussions
with patients and families who are concerned about arsenic exposure in children.

PEHSU Fact Sheet: Arsenic in Food

 Key Points posted on Jun 23, 2021
 Arsenic Exposure and Risk Factors posted on Jun 23, 2021
 Health Effects and State of the Science posted on Jun 23, 2021
 Medical Management posted on Jun 23, 2021
 Prevention and Risk-Reduction Communication posted on Jun 23, 2021

To download this page as a fact sheet, click here.

Additional Resources for Health Professionals


PEHSU Resources


 Grand Rounds: Old Poison, New Findings: Arsenic’s effect on maternal and child health - June 29, 2016 posted on Mar 18, 2020
 Case Conference: Childhood Diet and Arsenic Exposure: Interesting Clinical Cases - December 16, 2015 posted on Mar 17, 2020

Regional PEHSU Websites


  1. Carignan CC, Punshon T, Karagas MR, Cottingham KL. Potential exposure to arsenic from infant rice cereal. Ann Glob Health 2016;82:221-4.
  2. Gonzalez N, Calderon J, Rubies A, et al. Dietary exposure to total and inorganic arsenic via rice and rice-based product consumption. Food Chem Toxicol 2020;141:111420.
  3. Course WB 1576: Arsenic toxicity. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Available at https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/arsenic/docs/arsenic.pdf. Accessed April 29, 2021.
  4. Taylor V, Goodale B, Raab A, Schwerdtle T, Reimer K, Conklin S, Karagas MR, Francesconi KA. Human exposure to organic arsenic species from seafood. Sci Total Environ. 2017 Feb 15;580:266-282. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.113. Epub 2016 Dec 24. PMID: 28024743; PMCID: PMC5326596.
  5. Just the facts for consumers: Arsenic in your drinking water. Environmental Protection Agency. Available at https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=60000E1E.txt. Accessed April 29, 2021.
  6. Arsenic in food and dietary supplements. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Available at https://www.fda.gov/food/metals-and-your-food/arsenic-food-and-dietary-supplements. Accessed March 25, 2021.
  7. Proposed limit for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, April 2016. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Available at https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/proposed-limit-inorganic-arsenic-infant-rice-cereal. Accessed March 25, 2021.
  8. Supporting document for action level for inorganic arsenic in rice cereals for infants, August 2020. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Available at https://www.fda.gov/media/97121/download. Accessed March 25, 2021.
  9. Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements, August 2020. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Available at https://www.fda.gov/food/metals-and-your-food/arsenic-food-and-dietary-supplements Accessed April 7, 2021.
  10. Carignan CC, Karagas MR, Punshon T, Gilbert-Diamond D, Cottingham KL. Contribution of breast milk and formula to arsenic exposure during the first year of life in a US prospective cohort. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 2016;26(5):452-7.
  11. Arsenic rule compliance for community water system owners and operators. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Available at https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/arsenic-rule-compliance-community-water-system-owners-and-operators. Accessed March 25, 2021.
  12. Hu X, Ding Z, Zimmerman AR, Wang S, Gao B. Batch and column sorption of arsenic onto iron-impregnated biochar synthesized through hydrolysis. Water Res 2015;68:206-16.M
  13. Hirsch J. Heavy metals in baby food: what you need to know. Consumer Reports, August 16, 2018. Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/?fbclid=IwAR02IZ22vz2opEfR7qlAAr-e8vxHVkXb11HPimJ-e_DBBKKRrOCbXsvJSCY. Accessed March 28, 2021.
    NUTRITION and COMMITTEE ON NUTRITION. Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations. Pediatrics 2017;139 (6):e20170967.
  15. Menon M, Dong W, Chen X, Hufton J, Rhodes EJ. Improved rice cooking approach to maximise arsenic removal while preserving nutrient elements. Sci Total Environ 2021;755(Pt 2):143341.

The Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs) are supported by cooperative agreement FAIN: NU61TS000296 with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC/ATSDR). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides support through Inter-Agency Agreement DW-75-95877701 with CDC/ATSDR. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the PEHSUs as the National Program Office. The content on this website has not been formally disseminated by CDC/ATSDR or the EPA and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy. Use of trade names that may be mentioned is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the CDC/ATSDR or EPA.

The information contained on this website should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your/your child’s primary care provider. There may be variations in treatment that your provider may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Last updated: July 30, 2021