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Arsenic and Rice — The Poisonous Truth

By Fredrica Syren:

Rice is a staple crop and the dietary foundation for many of the world’s population. I for one love rice. No wonder it is so popular: it’s an excellent source of energy, is packed with vitamins and minerals, and provides an excellent source of vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamin, niacin) and potassium. Now, if I told you it also contains arsenic, how would you feel? Yeah, I know. It shocked me as well and really made me consider not adding it to my kids’ menu.

Researchers have found that most popular rice products — including white rice, brown rice, organic rice baby cereal, and rice breakfast cereals — contain

Picture from http://thegrio.files.wordpress.com
Picture from http://thegrio.files.wordpress.com

arsenic. The really scary part is that many of the products containing arsenic are aimed towards children and babies, who are the most vulnerable to exposure to toxins since their brain and nervous system have not yet developed. Research shows that arsenic exposure during childhood is associated with neurobehavioral problems as well as cancer and lung disease later in life.

Just like me, you might assume this will not be an issue with organic food, but the sad fact is that virtually every rice product on the market today, including many labeled “all natural” and “organic,” contains detectable levels of arsenic. Brown rice is found to contain higher arsenic levels than white rice.

How did the arsenic get into the rice in the first place? Rice absorbs more arsenic from both soil and water than other plants because it grows in water, which allows arsenic to be absorbed by its roots and stored in the grains. Lots of arsenic, especially in the U.S., comes from pesticides. Furthermore, arsenic is also used in animal feed to help prevent diseases and to make the animals grow faster. Of course it’s transported out of the animal through its poop, but it ends up in soil at some point.

Consumer Report states that, according to its research, they recommend that kids should eat only one serving of rice a week; and that does include rice cakes, rice baby cereal and cereal. When you do eat rice, make sure to wash it thoroughly before cooking. And choose white instead of brown rice.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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  1. Hi!! Hofmann farms is committed to eradicate arsenic from baby foods. We are growing rice in California that contains no arsenic. We are in the process of going to market by October with a brown rice baby cereal. it will be premium priced due to the relatively limited amount we can produce each year. Would you be interested? I really appreciate your concern as this is a very serious issue. thank for reading!! carol

  2. The subsequent time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have one thing attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can fix in the event you werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

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