Lifestyle & Belief

Arsenic found in rice, new study finds


Various kinds of rice are displayed for sale at a market in Jakarta. Rice may be Southeast Asia's saving crop.


Bay Ismoyo

Rice lovers, beware!

A new Consumer Reports study found about 60 different types of rice products from the US contained arsenic.

The products include white and brown rice, organic rice baby cereal and rice breakfast cereals.

The report said many of the products contain arsenic at "worrisome levels." In addition to being a carcinogen, long-term arsenic exposure can lead to chronic conditions, harm children's health later in life.

Consumer Reports recommends avoiding rice from "Texas, Louisiana, and Missouri," according to CBS News, but gave the all-clear to rice from Asia.

Philip Landrigan, a New York pediatrician, told CBS News high levels of arsenic are in the soil in Texas and Louisiana from a century of pesticide use for the cotton crop. He also said arsenic causes skin, lung, and bladder cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration responded to the report, and the concerns it has spawned, on its website.

"In looking at the research, there is an absence of the necessary scientific data that shows a causal relationship between those who consume higher levels of rice and rice products and the type of illnesses usually associated with arsenic. However, we are continuing to study this and note that other potential factors [of illness], such as other food in peoples’ diets," the FDA said.

The agency continued:

"Based on a preliminary review of FDA’s testing of approximately 200 initial samples of rice and rice products, we find that the results from Consumer Reports appear to be consistent with those we are reporting based on our initial testing .... While the levels reported are consistent with those released from Consumer Reports, FDA is continuing to collect and analyze 1,000 more samples in order to adequately cover the wide variety of rice types, geographical regions where rice is grown, and the extraordinary range of foods that contain rice as an ingredient."