Since vegans are concerned about healthy eating and organic foods, I found this study of interest. According to an Associated Press article out of Washington, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under pressure from consumer groups to sell guidelines for arsenic levels in rice. The FDA does not believe that rice is unsafe to eat; however, the Administration is conducting research on the arsenic levels in rice, cereals, rice cakes and drinks.
Organic and Inorganic Arsenic
Arsenic is present naturally in nature, including air, soil and water. Generally the arsenic passes swiftly through the body and is considered harmless organic arsenic. Pesticides and insecticides contain a toxic arsenic believed to pose a cancer risk, when consumed at high levels or for an extended period of time.
It is believed that arsenic levels are higher in rice due to the way it is grown. The water allows optimal conditions for rice to absorb arsenic. The FDA released only a sample portion of its study, which revealed 3.5 to 6.7 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving size. The completed report will not be ready until the end of the 2012. A popular U.S. magazine, Consumer Reports, has released its own study finding 8.7 micrograms per serving.
Purpose, Not to Stop People From Eating Rice, Rather Diversify Diet
The federal government refuses to comment at this time concerning the health risk that this amount of arsenic poses on humans. According to Consumer Reports, the purpose of the study is not to cause people to stop eating rice, but rather to promote a diversified diet. The research showed higher levels of rice for the Southern U.S. states compared to California or Asia. Brown rice was also found to contain a higher concentration of arsenic compared to white rice, which is believed to be a result of processing.
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