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Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:03 PM

Arsenic in rice--today's LA Times.

By Tiffany Hsu

September 19, 2012, 8:33 a.m.

All along the rice shelf at the grocery store, where brown and white rice sit alongside rice-based breakfast cereals, rice pastas, rice drinks and rice crackers, there’s arsenic, and often at troubling levels.

The new findings from a Consumer Reports investigation show “significant” and “worrisome” amounts of inorganic arsenic in nearly every rice product tested. The watchdog group urged consumers to scale back ingestion of rice products and asked the Food and Drug Administration to set limits.

Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen for humans, affecting the bladder, lungs, skin and possibly more, and is also considered a launch pad for children to future health woes. Organic arsenic is less toxic but still “of concern,” according to Consumer Reports.

Arsenic is found often in vegetables, fruits and even water. Earlier this year, the product testing organization concluded that the chemical element was rampant in many apple and grape juices.


The rest at the link:
http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-rice-arsenic-consumer-reports-20120919,0,396689.story

14 replies, 1273 views

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:07 PM

1. I heard this on NPR recently.

We don't eat huge amounts of rice, but, boy, it used to be my son's favorite thing while he was growing up.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:08 PM

2. We don't eat a lot of it either, but still...

I'm upset about this.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:21 PM

3. It seems only U.S.-grown rice is a problem

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Response to jsr (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:50 PM

5. It's a problem in specific states: Arkansas, Louisiana, MO, TX,

California rice has been deemed safest here (though still contains small amounts), in addition to Thai and Indian rice.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:42 PM

4. It didn't go into enough detail. There is no "safe" level established for arsenic, and most is Asian

 

While we do produce rice domestically, imports from Asian nations (predominantly China) have far higher concentrations because the paddies are often contaminated with runoff from factories (like the ones that make electronics). We only test a small portion of the imported rice and because of the concern for Chinese origin, the rice is often routed through other countries to give a false impression of the country of origin. The major packagers and product manufacturers typically get supplies from a variety of sources and they're blended in the process so you can never be sure where the rice originated.

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #4)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:54 PM

6. Actually China doesn't export a lot of rice

China exported 500,000 tons of rice in 2011, down 19 percent from a year earlier and well below levels shipped during most of the 1990s and early 21th century. China exports long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain rice. China is also a rice importer and is typically a small net exporter.
Trade accounts for a very small share of China’s rice production or consumption. (Source: USDA)

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Response to jsr (Reply #6)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 02:20 PM

9. Not a lot for China, but it's still over 86% of the imports we get from all sources (USDA)

 

http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/909407/ricetable_6.xls

And THAT'S just the part we can confirm came from China.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 01:59 PM

7. Also consider that cesium has been found in Japanese rice from Fukushima

It's very difficult to know where rice comes from by looking at the labels. The issue with rice seems to be that it absorbs well.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #7)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 02:23 PM

10. That's exactly the issue. Essentially it is a hydroponic crop. Pot grows well that way too.

 



But yes, it absorbs all kinds of nasty stuff, much of it naturally occurring (including arsenic), but growing location and man-made environmental factors play a heavy role in the absorption of heavy metals and toxins. Not to worry - corn sucks up heavy metals and toxins rather well too, so we'll get poisoned one way or another, rest assured.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 02:01 PM

8. This is awful! I love rice

and I switched from apple juice to grape juice---I thought grape juice was safe!?

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Response to ecstatic (Reply #8)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 03:28 PM

11. It is hard to know how to find good, trustworthy information.

And that makes the info we do have all that much scarier.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 03:35 PM

12. Thanks, Peggy.

Looks like I'll be eating taters and pasta for awhile.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 03:39 PM

13. You're very welcome, my dear Zorra...

The same is true for us.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Original post)

Thu Sep 20, 2012, 05:03 PM

14. I do a lot of soil sampling, there is arsenic EVERYWHERE!

Much like DDT, they used it a long time ago, it is not going anywhere, there is no way to really clean it up. I don't worry about it.

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