There is a long list of things that pose life threat to many consuming them or being exposed to them, knowingly or unknowingly. Arsenic is a new addition to the record of perilous intakes. It is a natural element and an industrial derivative that can cause grave health issues to millions globally if it seeps into drinking water.
Arsenic can be extremely lethal if taken in large portions. Even recurring exposure in small quantities have a high probability of causing cancer (lung, skin and bladder), infertility, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Often times, it is seen as a huge problem in the developing nations, but the developed countries, too, show a significant level of arsenic problems. A study shows an approximate estimation of over two million people in America who drink water with high proportions of arsenic. Arsenic became an issue of popular concern with its association with rice and other foods.
A variety of different kinds of rice and rice-based products were tested and found positive in inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic (Organic indicates the element’s chemistry). The results showed wide range of disparities as various types of rice are grown all around the world. For instance, FDA’s analysis of 200 rice products and Consumer Reports, both, stated that white rice from the four main rice producing states of USA – Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Missouri – had higher inorganic arsenic as compared to rice cultivated in California, India, and Thailand.
Cereal bars, toddler formulas and other products that contain organic brown rice syrup show higher arsenic levels. Rice specifically carries arsenic because it is generally cultivated in water-flooded lands that lessen the fastening of arsenic in the soil, therefore, making the substance stick to the grain.
Other foods that have certain amounts of arsenic comprise of some of the fruits, some vegetables, mushrooms, poultry, fish, juices, wine and seaweed, particularly hijiki. A 2010 EPA study confirms that rice causes 17 percent of our dietetic exposure to inorganic arsenic, fruits and juices add 18 percent and vegetables sum up to 24 percent. Arsenic is also present in some mineral waters, homeopathic products and herbs of Ayurvedic medicine.
It is not easy to say if the amount of arsenic in rice too high to generate health concern. But, there are no limits set for arsenic in food as it is set for drinking water. And, the health risk largely depends on the absorption of the different forms of arsenic in the rice.
It is advisable that you take required steps to reduce your arsenic consumption. One of the suggestions will be to make rice the way you cook pasta – you must use a lot of water, i.e. use 6 cups of water to boil 1 cup of uncooked rice. You should drain the extra water after you are done cooking. This will help you to get rid of arsenic dregs.