Arsenic in Rice
– 5 Important Clarifications
Despite what many believe, pesticides are not the main culprit of arsenic in produce (plant foods).
The FDA and USDA acknowledge that the main sources are from soil and ground water. Arsenic remains in soil for many, many years so organically grown produce is not any safer than conventionally grown produce (1, 2). Trace amounts are absorbed by different types of grains, fruits and vegetables.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element of the Earth.
Even if you eliminate rice from your diet, you’d still be exposed to arsenic.
Rice contains less arsenic than seafood.
The FDA and USDA are fully aware of arsenic in the food supply and have been monitoring it (along with other food contaminants) for more than 20 years. Every few years over 100 different foods are analyzed for contaminants and the data is published online for public viewing.
Much like seafood, rice appears to be particularly vulnerable to arsenic contamination because it grows in water. However, seafood like salmon, canned tuna and shrimp have been found to contain 5 or more times the amounts found in rice (3). Food toxicologists believe the level of arsenic found in food is largely considered to be benign since they have not caused reported health effects, including cancer (4). In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that exposure through the diet is 80% lower than the level set by law to protect consumers from exposure to drinking and cooking water (5).