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:
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
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)