How Safe Is Eating Rice? Teaspoon Of Arsenic, Anyone?

Rice Danger: Any Volunteers For A Teaspoon Of Arsenic?

I’m afraid the responsibility lies with us to judge whether we want toxins in our bodies or not. What kind of wear and tear do poisons bring to our bodies? For example, do we want any of our bodily organs wearing out?

‘In 2001, EPA adopted a lower standard for arsenic in drinking water that applies to both community water systems and non-transient non-community water systems. The new arsenic standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb) replaces the old standard of 50 ppb [1]’.

I’ll bet you, like I didn’t know that no federal limit exists for inorganic arsenic in most foods, (like rice) but the standard for drinking water is 10 parts per billion (ppb). How do we apply this standard to food? As far as I can figure, that means two servings of some rices could give the average adult almost three times the inorganic arsenic he or she would get from drinking 2 liters of water.

‘Rice accumulates 10-fold higher inorganic arsenic (i-As), an established human carcinogen, than other grains [2]’.

Maybe, you don’t drink that much water. Bring the amount down to one liter. And, that’s still way too much arsenic. We have to educate ourselves as to what’s in our food. But, the big question remains… Do the health benefits of eating rice outweigh its arsenic content?

‘I was eating quite a bit of California basmati brown rice (eight cups) every day. It is supposed to have much less than other rice. Yet, I ached all the time in my muscles and my joints popped and couldn’t figure out why. I narrowed it down and the only thing left I was eating was rice. As soon as I stopped eating it, all the pain went away and I began feeling much better in every way’ ~ your author

Even Though Billions Of People Eat Rice, Does That Mean It’s OK For You To Do So?

“We believe replacing white rice and other refined grains with whole grains, including brown rice, would help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes,” says study co-author Dr. Qi Sun of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston [3].

Up until recently I had been eating organic basmati brown rice grown in California. It is known to have the least ‘arsenic’ than from other states in the US. But, organic rice still has arsenic.

‘Brown basmati rice from California, India or Pakistan are best choices for lowest arsenic levels. White rice is even lower because arsenic is mainly stored in the fiber. But, is any amount a good thing? You might want to consider substitute grains like millet that have negligible amounts of inorganic arsenic. I just eat more organic russet potatoes’ ~ your author

Although, arsenic can be in the air, most often it comes from food and water. It is not absorbed efficiently through our skin and not necessarily stored in the body for long being expelled within a couple of ways.

‘Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic has been associated with skin disorders and increased risks for skin, bladder, and lung cancers. Short-term exposure to very high amounts of inorganic arsenic can result in nausea, vomiting, bruising, and numbness or burning sensations in the hands and feet [4]’.

Some of the arsenic we ingest leaves the body through bowel movements, while most passes through urine. It is also found in the nails and hair as they grow.

‘The main route of arsenic excretion is in the urine [5]’.

Giving up rice may not be a really big life changing decision. But, you will find rice flour as an ingredient in many processed foods.

‘Arsenic toxicity is a worldwide health concern as several millions of people are exposed to this toxicant via drinking water, and exposure affects almost every organ system in the body including the brain. Recent studies have shown that even low concentrations of arsenic impair neurological function, particularly in children [6]’.

We can’t expect our doctors and government to protect us from all health hazards. When we take responsibility for ourselves, we will no longer be victims with knowledge of good and bad foods.

‘Inorganic arsenic has been confirmed as a human carcinogen that can induce skin, lung, and bladder cancer. There are also reports of its significant association to liver, prostate, and bladder cancer. Recent studies have also suggested a relationship with diabetes, neurological effects, cardiac disorders, and reproductive organs, but further studies are required to confirm these associations [7]’. 

When you cook rice in more water than it needs, you reduce the arsenic level. And, rinsing helps reduce it even further.

‘How does arsenic affect people? Arsenic affects a broad range of organs and systems including: Skin,, Nervous system, Respiratory system, Cardiovascular system, Liver, kidney, bladder and prostate, Immune system, Endocrine system, Developmental processes [8]’.

There are other grains to choose from with almost no arsenic. But, they are acidic in nature having lectin, phytates (considered an anti-nutrient because of binding to minerals like zinc, calcium, and magnesium preventing their absorption, also causing acid reflux. Furthermore, refined grains same as refined sugar can cause cavities.

‘Besides arsenic, toxic metals like cadmium, lead and mercury have been found in rice…’ ~ your author

We humans have no need for grain, only for the more nutrient packed whole fruits and vegetables. Let the birds and cattle have their seeds and grain, as they were designed to eat these.


Website TitleEPA
Article TitleChemical Contaminant Rules
Date PublishedJuly 27, 2018
Date AccessedMay 14, 2019

Website TitleNational Center for Biotechnology Information
Article TitleHome – PMC – NCBI
Date AccessedMay 14, 2019

3 URL Website Title National Institutes of Health Article Title Think Twice Before Eating White Rice? Date Published September 07, 2017 Date Accessed May 06, 2019

4 URL Title Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements Article Title Arsenic in Food and Dietary Supplements
Date Accessed May 08, 2019

Website Title Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Article Title Environmental Health and Medicine Education
Date Accessed May 09, 2019

6 URL Title Current environmental health reports Article Title The Effects of Arsenic Exposure on Neurological and Cognitive Dysfunction in Human and Rodent Studies: A Review
Date Published March 21, 2014
Date Accessed May 08, 2019

7 URL Title Journal of preventive medicine and public health = Yebang Uihakhoe chi
Publication Month September
Publication Year 2014
Article Title Health effects of chronic arsenic exposure
Date Accessed May 08, 2019

Website Title National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Article Title Arsenic
Date Accessed May 08, 2019

9 Everything you ever wanted to know about arsenic PDF download, here.

Note- before you change your diet consult your doctor.


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