Beware of Arsenic in Food: Contaminated Rice

| 9/19/2012 4:49:36 PM

Tags: arsenic in food, contaminated rice, rice contamination, arsenate pesticides, arsenic-laced feed, large-scale poultry, mother jones,

Rice bagConsumer Reports has recently stated that it found significant levels of arsenic in a variety of US rice products including organic and brown rice, rice-based cereal and even baby formula. So much arsenic has been found that according to a Consumer Reports analysis of a major population study, people who consume a single serving of rice get a 44 percent spike in the arsenic level in their urine. This is particularly disturbing because arsenic is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “group 1” carcinogen making it among the world’s most potent cancer inducers

Rice is commonly grown in water-flooded conditions which makes it particularly susceptible to harmful contaminants taken up by the plant’s roots and stored in the grains. The cause of the recent rice contamination has been traced to two sources. First, the United State’s rice fields are often placed in areas that once grew cotton, cotton was sprayed with arsenate pesticides prior to the 1980s and many of the potent chemicals continue to lay dormant in the soil. The second cause is linked to the arsenic-laced feed given to industrially raised chickens in order to control a common bug and create an “appetizing” pink hue on the chicken’s flesh. Large-scale poultry producers hand over their chicken manure, bedding and spilled feed to nearby rice farmers who unknowingly apply the substance at a rate of one to three tons per acre. For more information regarding the recent rice contamination and to learn how to avoid excessive arsenic exposure see the Mother Jones article "Waiter, There's Arsenic in My Rice." 

 Photo By Fotolia/airborne77 

paul koti
10/3/2012 6:38:58 AM

Yes Cindersga and Bran in my area i.e., south India we were using Organic Rice strictly grown under supervision If required I can org anise to send.

t brandt
9/27/2012 3:14:01 AM

Before you panic: Arsenic exposure via inhalation by chemical workers has been associated with lung cancer. Exposure to As in Asians via drinking water (they have very high natural levels there) is less convincingly associated with kidney & bladder cancer (not lung ca)....Here's the consumers report It seems even the "organic brands" have as much As as other brands of rice. Could it be it's not the As from old artificial fertilizers, but just the natural background levles of As in soil that's the source?..They don't tell us what the levels of As are in, say, corn, or wheat or yogurt. How do we know rice is any worse?... Are any of you who eat rice regularly feeling the symptoms of As poisoning?...Never believe one silly, non-scientific "report." Investigate it more deeply before you get upset.

9/26/2012 1:19:36 AM

How about foraging for wild rice? It grows in most of the states in areas like shallow lakes, ponds, and bogs. All you need is a canoe or kayak and a little free time, and its also fun to be paddling around these places.

bran p
9/24/2012 11:13:45 PM

I agree cindersga. This is horrible! Rice and chicken are staples in our diets. Is there any clean rice grown anywhere? I'd like to know, too!

9/24/2012 6:41:35 PM

Where can we buy rice that hasn't been exposed to these Arsenic poisons? My husband is 1/2 Japanese and we like Japanese rice but after the flooding in Japan and the nuclear leakage how can you trust that any of the rice in that area is not glowing? It's so frustrating not to be able to purchase food with confidence that it is good for you and not going to harm you.

eileen morey
9/24/2012 12:33:50 PM

Read the Mother Jones article too - the recommendation is for no more than two 1/4 cup servings per week - less for kids. Should be a huge lesson for us that 1) pesticides used back in the 80s are still causing major problems (so maybe we should stop using them??) and 2) adding arsenic to chicken feed is NOT a good idea - DUH!! What will it take for us to recognize that chemicals don't belong in our food chain?

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