ARSENIC (As) is a toxic element naturally found in the environment, it is present in water, air, and soil. There are two types of As, Organic and Inorganic. Inorganic Arsenic, being the most toxic and detrimental to human health.
Rice has higher levels of inorganic arsenic than other foods, in part because as rice plants grow, efficiently absorbs arsenic from irrigation water, soil and even cooking water. Some of that arsenic is of natural origin, but pollution is often responsible for higher levels.
Recently, Consumer Reports Magazine released their analysis in Arsenic levels in rice and rice goods. Popular rice products including white rice, brown rice, organic rice baby cereal, and rice breakfast cereals, were all found to contain high levels of arsenic, a potent carcinogen that can also be harmful to a child’s developing brain.
“In virtually every product tested, we found measurable amounts of total arsenic in its two forms. We found significant levels of inorganic arsenic, which is a carcinogen, in almost every product category, along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern.”
Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with higher rates of skin, bladder and lung cancers, as well as heart disease. The FDA is currently examining these and other long-term effects.
Some important recommendations to reduce the arsenic chemical from your diet are:
- Buy rice that grows in California and imported Basmati and Jasmine.
- Buy Brands with low level of Arsenic- http://www.consumerreports.org/content/dam/cro/magazine-articles/2012/November/Consumer%20Reports%20Arsenic%20in%20Food%20November%202012_1.pdf
- Rinse rice thoroughly before cooking with filter water. About four to six times until water runs clear.
- Eat other grains like quinoa, barley, Amaranth. Millet…white rice has less Arsenic than brown rice.
- Look out for products that contain Rice syrup, rice flour, puff rice. Products like Granolas, Gluten free, and Cereals, toddles formulas.
By Susan Farkas