Consumer Reports study finds arsenic in rice

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by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News

khou.com

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 12:52 PM

A new study from Consumer Reports has found alarming levels of arsenic, a known carcinogen, in several brands of rice.

Consumer Reports tested 32 brands of rice and dozens of rice products. All of them contained arsenic. The organization said what's even more alarming is that lab tests found troubling levels of inorganic arsenic in many of the samples. That type of arsenic is the most toxic. It is a known human carcinogen that has been linked to skin, lung and bladder cancers.

Consumer Reports also found that there was generally more arsenic in brown rice, which is considered healthier than white rice.

"We aren't able to draw conclusions about specific brands because our tests are limited. But the analysis we did of government data shows that for Americans who eat rice, it is a significant source of arsenic exposure," said Andrea Rock of Consumer Reports.

Still the USA Rice Federation, an industry trade group, released this statement: "There is no documented evidence of actual adverse health effects from exposure to arsenic in US grown rice."

Consumer Reports disagrees.

"We already know that even low levels of arsenic exposure increase your risk of cancer and other health problems. We don't want to alarm people, but we do recommend that you limit the amount of rice that you eat," Rock said. 

Consumer Reports said research shows that rinsing rice thoroughly and cooking it in lots of water, as you would pasta, can reduce arsenic levels. And when it comes to your baby's rice cereal, Consumer Reports recommends they eat no more than a quarter cup of rice cereal per day.

Consumer Reports is now asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to limit the amount of arsenic in rice. This study comes just a year after the organization found troubling levels of arsenic in apple and grape juice.

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