Tuesday, 14 February 2012 21:36

The Story Behind Arsenic in Organic Brown Rice Products

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Soooo...did you hear that some organic brown rice products contain arsenic? Yep, at least that's what a study says, and it's pretty frightening if you don't know all the details. Fortunately it seems we don't have much to worry about, and here's why:

The study that found arsenic in brown rice:
  • Discovered surprisingly high levels of arsenic in rice-based organic toddler formula, energy bars and organic brown rice syrup in general -  six times the federal limit
  • Some say it was done to encourage the FDA to set regulations for arsenic levels in food
  • Currently there are noo requirements for testing arsenic levels in a wide range of food products grown in the U.S
  • Many agree that the study made some incorrect comparisons that make the results misleading and confusing for consumers to understand
What is Arsenic?
  • A naturally occurring toxic element that occurs naturally in soil and groundwater
  • Some levels are present in all rice
  • Commonly found in a wide range of fruits, vegetables, grains and seafood (especially chicken and fish)
  • Also found in the air and drinking water.
  • The average diet includes as much as 1,000 micrograms of ORGANIC arsenic per day
  • Brown rice tends to have more arsenic than white rice, and levels vary based on where and when it is grown
  • The majority of brown rice syrup is imported from Pakistan, where higher levels of naturally occurring arsenic are found in the water and soil
Arsenic Exposure Can Cause: 
  • Thickening and discoloration of the skin
  • Stomach pain
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Partial paralysis and blindness
  • Increases the risk of bladder cancer and other cancers.
  • Inorganic arsenic poses a health risk, whereas organic arsenic is not known to pose a health risk and is actually needed in low levels by the human body as noted here).
  • Arsenic does not cause reproductive toxicity
  • Organic arsenic is not recognized as a potential for risk
  • No scientific studies that have linked U.S. rice consumption to adverse health effects. U.S. grown rice remains a safe, wholesome food for all consumers
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself?
  • Ask companies to do 3rd party and FDA testing, plus self-regulate their products and ingredients
  • When cooking brown rice, wash it well (soak in water before cooking if possible)
  • Add extra water to the pot to help wash away the soluble arsenic
  • People on gluten-free diets should try to diversify their grains (organic corn, quinoa, coconut, hemp seed, almond, sunflower seed and hazelnut products are just a few examples)
Read 18062 times Last modified on Wednesday, 09 May 2012 08:26