Rice, sometimes even "organic" rice such as that grown in fields in Arkansas or Texas once used to grow cotton and containing lead arsenate residue, may contain significant levels of arsenic. Occasional use has been determined by the FDA to pose no significant short term use. Rice and rice products are used as an ingredient in many other foods.
Obviously, long term use by people or ethnic groups who consume rice with every meal, raises more difficult questions. Arsenic compounds are a well-established carcinogen.
Rice and rice products contain arsenic, a known poison and Group 1 carcinogen. There is no safe level of arsenic, but, as of 2012, a limit of 10 parts per billion has been established in the United States for drinking water, twice the level of 5 parts per billion originally proposed by the EPA. Consumption of one serving of some varieties of rice gives more exposure to arsenic than consumption of 1 liter of water that contains 5 parts per billion arsenic; however, the amount of arsenic in rice varies widely with the greatest concentration in brown rice and rice grown on land formerly used to grow cotton; in the United States, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying this issue, but has not established a limit. China has set a limit of 150 ppb for arsenic in rice.
White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account for 76 percent of American-produced rice had higher levels of arsenic than other regions of the world studied, possibly because of past use of arsenic based pesticides to control cotton weevils. Rice from Thailand and India contain the least arsenic among rice varieties in one study.
Notes and references
- "FDA Explores Impact of Arsenic in Rice"
- EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) (October 28, 2009). "Scientific Opinion on Arsenic in Food". EFSA Journal (European Food Safety Authority) 7 (10): 1351. http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/doc/1351.pdf.
- "Arsenic in your food: Our findings show a real need for federal standards for this toxin". Consumer Reports. November 2012. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/arsenicinfood.htm. Retrieved November 22, 2012.
- Questions & Answers: FDA’s Analysis of Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products. fda.gov
- Rice as a source of arsenic exposure. Medicalxpress.com (2011-12-05)
- Consumer Reports Magazine November 2012 – Arsenic in your Food. Consumerreports.org (2012-09-19). Retrieved on 2013-04-20.
- Potera, Carol (2007). "Food Safety: U.S. Rice Serves Up Arsenic". Environmental Health Perspectives 115 (6): A296. PMC 1892142. PMID 17589576. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892142/.
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