SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A new report suggests high levels of arsenic may be tied to eating large amounts of rice.Consumer Reports released a study
stating many common rice products contain "worrisome levels" of arsenic.
The report said rice eaten just once a day could drive arsenic levels in the human body up 44-percent and if rice was eaten twice a day, the levels can increase 70-percent.
Consumer Reports said the following were trends they noticed while researching the study:
- White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account for 76 percent of domestic rice, generally had higher levels of total arsenic and inorganic arsenic in our tests than rice samples from elsewhere.
- Within any single brand of rice we tested, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were always higher for brown rice than for white.
- People who ate rice had arsenic levels that were 44 percent greater than those who had not, according to our analysis of federal health data. And certain ethnic groups were more highly affected, including Mexicans, other Hispanics, and a broad category that includes Asians.
- Reducing arsenic in food is feasible. We examined the efforts of two food companies, including Nature's One, trying to tackle the problem and learned about methods being used to try to reduce arsenic in products.
- Based on these findings, our experts are asking the Food and Drug Administration to set limits for arsenic in rice products and fruit juices as a starting point.
Arsenic is considered a level 1 carcinogen and has been linked to both lung and bladder cancers.
Consumer Reports said some products tested had more than five times the arsenic found in oat meal, an amount one and a half times more than the EPA's legal standard for drinking water.
The USA Rice Federation does not dispute that arsenic is in rice but said there is no documented case of illness related to rice.
ABC 4 talked to a number of people who said the report will not change their eating habits.
Lisa Lay said, "I think people are too paranoid. I think if we sat and examined what was in everything we ate we wouldn't eat anything."
Consumer Reports is recommending the government adopt new standards regulating arsenic levels in food.