DeLauro Urges FDA Action to Address Arsenic in Infants’ Food
WASHINGTON, DC (April 16, 2018) — Today, Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) sent a letter urging United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to protect young children from ingesting dangerous amounts of arsenic by promptly updating guidance to consumers and businesses.
“I write to express my concern about the FDA’s lack of urgency in addressing the threat of arsenic in our food supply, particularly as it relates to young children,” wrote DeLauro. “A recent report by the U.S. Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), Federal Efforts to Manage the Risk of Arsenic in Rice, highlights many of those concerns and I seek to clarify FDA’s commitment to GAO’s recommendations for the agency’s role in managing the risk of arsenic in rice.”
“Exposure to elevated arsenic levels is especially concerning for young children because of the potential long-term cognitive and behavioral problems,” continued DeLauro. “In March of 2016, FDA issued a draft risk assessment of the human health effects from long-term ingestion of arsenic in rice. Research teams and public health experts noted there were gaps in this risk assessment, including the failure to adequately consider neurodevelopmental harm, to establish a limit that protects children from arsenic in all rice-based foods, and to adequately consider risks for highly exposed groups. It has been two years and FDA has not addressed these gaps, nor finalized the draft guidance for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, leaving consumers and health care providers in limbo.”
A copy of the full letter can be found here.
DeLauro serves as Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and is a senior Democrat on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.