I just heard about a concern for arsenic in rice. This is a major problem, especially given the number of food items with rice as a major ingredient. Think about cereals and baby food which you may be giving to your children on a daily basis.
Right now there are no conclusions that the arsenic levels are directly causing specific problems, and the FDA is actively evaluating this risk and Consumer Reports have issued a warning. My local NPR station has some tips for consumers to limit their risk:
- Pay Attention to where the rice is grown: Apparently the southeastern US has more arsenic in the soil, therefor growing rice with higher arsenic levels. Jasmine and Basmati had lower levels compared to other white rices.
- Use more White Rice: The processing of rice to make white rice reduces the amount of arsenic, by a bit.
- Cook with more Water: the extra water will keep some of the arsenic
- Better yet, switch to other grains like quinoa, oats, millet, or amarynth.
- Check foods you give to small children, especially food for babies ages 4 months to 1 year. Also check for brown rice syrup which is used as a sweetener.
If you want to learn more about arsenic, its toxicity and how it effects the human body, read the Agency For Toxic Substance and Disease Registry public health statement here.