Arsenic in Rice: Shocking Test Results Reveal High Arsenic Poisoning Risks
Sep 19, 2012 06:23 PM EDT | By Tom Johnson
In a study performed by consumer magazine ' Consumer Reports', researchers find alarmingly high levels of arsenic in rice, and is now warning Americans to limit the amount of white and brown rice they consume.
The government takes the reports seriously. "We understand that consumers are concerned about this matter. That's why FDA [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has prioritized analyzing arsenic levels in rice," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., to Consumer Reports.
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The FDA preliminary released 200 of a total expected 1,200 samples after Consumer Reports released their study earlier on. Both studies show similar levels of arsenic in rice while Consumer Reports study found slightly higher levels.
In a statement, the FDA said, "It is critical to not get ahead of the science. The FDA's ongoing data collection and other assessments will give us a solid scientific basis for determining what action levels and/or steps are needed to reduce exposure to arsenic in rice and rice products.
Most people know arsenic as the poisonous substance used by murderers in countless unsolved mysteries. However it takes a relatively large amount, at least a teaspoon or so, to poison a person fatally.
In a report to "Good Morning America", by Consumer Reports Magazine today morning, it was told that eating rice just once a day can drive arsenic levels in the human body up 44 percent. Rice eaten twice per day can lead to a 70 percent increase of arsenic levels.
The arsenic levels also varied depending on where the rice was grown, with rice grown in states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas containing higher levels than rice samples from other parts of the country. Those four states account for about 76 percent of domestic rice, ABC News reports. The study additionally suggests that rice from California or Asia contained notably lower arsenic levels.
For those undecided between white and brown rice, white rice has lower levels of arsenic as it is mainly in the outer layers of the grain that it is prevalent, and brown rice usually keeps the whole grain intact.
To eliminate the risk of arsenic poisoning by consuming rice, Consumer Reports suggests rice eaters limit themselves to one serving a day, especially for babies. By rinsing and boiling rice in a 6 to 1 water ratio removes about 30 percent of its arsenic. Additionally, where it can be avoided, they suggest not giving children under the age of 5 rice drinks or ricing milk as part of their daily diet.
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NIAID is the lead Institute at the National Institutes of Health for research of food allergies. According to the institute's official website, they are committed to supporting efforts to help better understand, prevent, and manage this disorder that affects approximately 5 percent of children and 4 percent of adults in the United States.
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