September 20, 2012

'Worrisome' amounts of arsenic found in rice products

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES - Arsenic is common in rice and popular rice-based products such as cereals, pastas, drinks and crackers, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports.

The watchdog group said Wednesday that it found "significant" and "worrisome" amounts of inorganic arsenic in nearly every rice product tested. Consumer Reports urged the public to consume fewer rice products and asked the Food and Drug Administration to set limits on permissible levels of arsenic in food.

Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen, affecting the bladder, lungs and skin, and can cause long-term health problems when ingested by children. Organic arsenic is less toxic but still "of concern," according to Consumer Reports.

Both types of arsenic are found often in vegetables, fruits and even water. This year, the product-testing organization found that the chemical element was common in apple and grape juices.

Consumer Reports said it tested more than 200 samples of rice products, including some from major labels, organic and conventional purveyors, and gluten-free companies. Rice, which is grown partly submerged, easily absorbs arsenic found naturally in soil and water.

 

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