Aresenic levels in rice

Aresenic levels in rice

Very disturbing news about the levels of arsenic in rice and rice based food products. There won’t be a parent in the land not concerned by this shocking news item.

arsenic in rice

Arsenic in baby rice

As a food that’s generally accepted as a healthy choice and the perfect weaning food, it’s very disturbing to learn that naturally occurring arsenic has been found in rice and in some cases is many times higher than what would be considered safe. As a parent, I would not consider any level of toxicity safe or acceptable when talking about my children’s diet as I am sure, most of you would too. So, I was surprised to learn that inorganic arsenic is present in many forms of food, even in mineral water, however, rice has been found to contain as much as ten times more that other foods.

Arsenic exposure risk to children

As children generally ingest three times more food on a body-weight basis it’s seems likely that their exposure to inorganic arsenic is also three times higher than that of an adult. If you factor in a gluten allergy to a diet that is often supplemented with rice products, including rice milk, then that exposure risk rises even higher.

How arsenic in our diet affects our health

Inorganic arsenic is naturally occurring but it’s effect of rice being grown in a flooded environment that increases it’s absorption into the food chain. High levels for arsenic through diet can lead to developmental problems in children, diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

bladder_urothelial_carcinoma

bladder urothelial carcinoma – one of the risks associated with inorganic arsenic in our diet

Regulations on arsenic levels

Despite there being regulations in Europe about the levels of arsenic in our mineral water there are none in place for the the levels in our food. The World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN have just announce guidelines for arsenic in rice. Brown rice is higher with 400 parts per billion and white rice is lower, due to the milling process and has a level of 200 parts per billion.

Basmati rice has been found to have the lowest levels of inorganic arsenic and obviously the lower the better, however any exposure is a risk.

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