FDA Examines Arsenic In Rice | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 39 | p. 25 | Concentrates
Issue Date: September 24, 2012

FDA Examines Arsenic In Rice

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: arsenic, rice, FDA
Credit: Shutterstock
Cooked brown rice in bowl.
Credit: Shutterstock

FDA has ramped up its testing of arsenic in rice and rice products to determine whether action is needed to reduce long-term exposure to the element. The agency released an initial set of data last week showing total inorganic arsenic levels in about 200 products, including various brands of white rice, brown rice, rice cereals, rice cakes, and rice milk. Total inorganic arsenic levels averaged between 3.5 and 6.7 µg per serving, which is consistent with data published last week in Consumer Reports. FDA says it does not currently have enough scientific data to recommend dietary changes to reduce exposure to arsenic from rice. The agency intends, however, to analyze another 1,000 rice products to help fill in the data gaps. With the additional information, FDA hopes to better understand how arsenic levels vary by rice type, geographical region in which the rice is grown, and type of food product. Inorganic arsenic is found naturally in soil and water and is readily taken up by rice. Chronic exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic is associated with skin, bladder, and lung cancers, as well as heart disease.

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