new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

arsenic found in rice  RSS feed

 
Russ White
Posts: 35
Location: north eastern us
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
On the news today was a story of high levels of arsenic in rice. When it was found in apple juice, they tried to tell us it was from the seeds. Well no apple seeds in rice. Just wish I had canned more from the garden. Seems only safe food is what we grow ourselves.
 
joseph wittenberg
Posts: 57
Location: aguanga, california
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have they stated where the arsenic is from, seems the obvious answer is soil (water), just curious.
 
Allan Babb
Posts: 63
Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
joseph wittenberg wrote:Have they stated where the arsenic is from, seems the obvious answer is soil (water), just curious.


The assumption is from water or from fertilizer. I was going to wait a while before I rushed to judgement on rice(not that I eat a lot of rice) until I read this:

"These are very, very low levels," Dr James R. Coughlin, president and founder of Coughlin & Associates, an independent toxicology consulting company for the USA Rice Federation, said. "Rice is a safe and nutritious food and in fact people who consume rice more frequently in their diets are actually healthier than other Americans."

Any time a corporate paid "Doctor" says it's okay, that automatically gives me the heebie jeebies.
 
Russ White
Posts: 35
Location: north eastern us
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is always some present in soil but the numbers don't add up right. Would be my guess that it is pesticide based. Seems that half lives theory of the pesticides becoming inert with time may be wrong due to over use or build up in soil. News stories always shy away from pointing fingers at true reason due to lawsuits. But they mentioned the fact that children fed rice based food may be at some risk. Sure more info will come out about it. The one thing I missed is the location where exactly it was raised or perhaps it wasn't mentioned.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
Location: Portugal
891
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I read this article yesterday about a mystery kidney disease in rice farmers in Sri Lanka which seems to be related to chronic exposure to cadmium and/or arsenic. Cadmium is used in fertilisers, and arsenic in pesticides.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good thing I'm growing my own rice which is a hell of a lot easier than I originally thought.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
news said it was pollution in the water used to flood fields...so I guess "one straw revolution" of not flooding your fields makes more sense daily.
 
LaLena MaeRee
Posts: 148
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Burra, I originally was just going to ignore this warning since the fda and some doctors were involved, they NEVER have our best interest at heart. I really still wonder though, is this a ploy to push more gmo food since rice is generally an alternative to things like gmo corn for some people? (I know some rice is gmo too) It just makes me skeptical since we also recently had that lovely study about how organic food isn't healthier for us than pesticide laden toxic commercial foods.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5864
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We buy our rice from Lone Pine in Carlisle Arkansas. They are a large organic farm using biodynamic compost. They have been in production since the sixties. We are able to buy fifty pound bags at a time of just harvested and cleaned brown basmati organic rice less than one hundred miles from our home. It has been an important part of our diet for years (along with their organic soybeans for our tempeh). I wouldn't let this arsenic report scare me from eatting rice but I would definitely not buy something where I couldn't ask my farmer questions. At this farm they do test regularly and trace amounts show up in different fields different years from naturally occuring arsenic in the soil and water. I think one of the worries is when rice is grown on old cotton field land and all of the pesticide residues left behind can accumulate. I quit weaving with conventionally grown cotton because of the long list of chemicals used in the fields.
 
Alex Brands
Posts: 55
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Russ White wrote:There is always some present in soil but the numbers don't add up right. Would be my guess that it is pesticide based. Seems that half lives theory of the pesticides becoming inert with time may be wrong due to over use or build up in soil.


Elements (except the radioactive ones) don't have half lives in the soil the way that molecules do. Arsenic does not break down into anything else, and it is not very mobile in the soil. This is the problem with heavy metal contamination...it doesn't go away in a reasonable timescale. Molecules like 2,4-D and glyphosate and Imidacloprid and pyrethroids get metabolized by soil microbes or broken down by abiotic processes. Heavy metals do not: because the are elements, they can't be "broken down" into anything else.

I would also guess this originated from pesticide use.
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 264
Location: SW Michigan
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Does the organic rice farm have a web page?
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5864
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Daniel Morse wrote:Does the organic rice farm have a web page?

Yes, I can't link but just do a search for Lone Pine organic rice and it will show up...last I looked you could email but I always call before noon and someones there to ask questions.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5864
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
351
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Daniel...try instead Lone Pine Enterprises...If I was home I would just pass on the phone number.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4147
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A friend who works for PCC (Puget Consumers Coop) in the Seattle area just e-mailed the attached memo on arsenic in rice. It's based on a Consumer Reports article published last year.

In short, the memo states that California-grown rice has somewhat safer levels of arsenic, but it's still wise to limit consumption - especially for children. PCC stopped selling infant rice cereal because of this.
Filename: Nutrition-Memo-Arsenic-in-Rice-REVISED-2014.pdf
Description: PCC Nutrition Memo Arsenic in Rice REVISED 2014
File size: 282 Kbytes
 
Bill Erickson
steward
Posts: 1128
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
124
books chicken forest garden hugelkultur hunting wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:A friend who works for PCC (Puget Consumers Coop) in the Seattle area just e-mailed the attached memo on arsenic in rice. It's based on a Consumer Reports article published last year.

In short, the memo states that California-grown rice has somewhat safer levels of arsenic, but it's still wise to limit consumption - especially for children. PCC stopped selling infant rice cereal because of this.


Reading the source documents for that memo made for some sobering reading. So to add to the sober for others, I'm posting the links to the articles, the reports and adding in a couple of the infographics - if two of them are too much, let me know and I'll edit the post.
Here's a linky thing to the original November 2012 Consumer Reports article and then there's this linky thing to the updated November 2014 Consumer Reports article. I really "liked" this graphic from there:



Here's a linky thing for the PDF of the complete 2012 Report.

This linky thing is to the latest report that also covers alternatives to rice. I believe the graphic is based off of this information.

They condensed the information from the latest report to redefine their suggested guidlines for rice eating as follows:
The new rice rules: 7 points per week
We used our new data and analysis to assign a point value to types of rice foods.
On average, we recommend getting no more than 7 points per week.
Risk analysis is based on weight, so a serving of any food will give children more points than adults.
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 652
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
21
trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've slowly been losing my respect for Consumer Reports over the years, and that article just hastens the decline.

They highlight in red any serving of rice that has more than 5 micrograms of arsenic, and suggest limiting rice consumption to just half a cup a week. What they completely leave out from this article is that the minimum daily human arsenic requirement is believed to be 12 to 25 micrograms. In other words, you would have to eat five servings of rice just to get your minimum daily amount. If you don't get enough arsenic, you end up with fun side effects like fertility problems, death while lactating, and heart damage.
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
John Wolfram : Thanks for ''Putting a little Light on the subject'' ! Too often we get science articles written by English majors and Blue-Pencil Edited by

Someone who got qualified for his job by graduating from a (two year?) Business school !

Several years ago The U.N. and a whole group of N.G.O.s Ramped-up huge well drilling projects OnThe "Indian Sub-continent'' and drilled into water tables
with high Arsenic levels, often in an effort to spend available funds on more and more wells the money for testing the water Quality was never tested !

''Oh well, if there is a problem in some local place, we will just give them a newer well " !

From this little acorn years of misinformation has spread ! Big AL
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4147
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I appreciated that Bill posted the graphics (thanks Bill!), because I didn't take the time to follow the links myself. My sister, in school learning nutrition, also mentioned our dietary need for arsenic and that she lauded the PCC memo's recommendation to diversify what we eat.

This topic also relates to an article my daughter told me about that said those eating gluten free are often more exposed to excessive levels of arsenic (see the rice pasta points in the graphic Bill posted) and other unhealthiness due to all of the new (processed) gluten free foods available, usually made with (mostly) rice. Processed foods also contain loads of food starch, especially corn starch if gluten free, which when not organic usually means GMO corn.

I agree with Al that John did bring some balance back to what can be (sometimes overly) scary, and perhaps a bit of overmuch marketing by Consumer Reports. Though I think on the whole, looking for the healthiest, safest, least-toxic food is a worthy goal.

My take away is to continue to avoid processed foods (probably especially gluten free ones!), make sure we're rinsing our rice, buying organic and from sources we trust, and continuing to diversify and grow our own food as much as possible.

 
Bill Erickson
steward
Posts: 1128
Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
124
books chicken forest garden hugelkultur hunting wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, this has been an interesting drop down the rabbit hole of arsenic science for me - thanks, John! I mean that most sincerely. Your statement, "I've slowly been losing my respect for Consumer Reports over the years, and that article just hastens the decline.", got me to thinking about my own fall from reading them. I heard the word 'study' and assumed science was the result. They did gather up some significant empirical data to look at, but so did the FDA, WHO and a bunch of others on the availability of Inorganic Arsenic in water and various foods.

From the FDA webpage for Arsenic in Rice Rice Products:



Arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance or as a result of contamination from human activity. It is found in water, air, soil and foods. In foods, arsenic may be present as inorganic arsenic (the most toxic form of arsenic) or organic arsenic. FDA has been monitoring the levels of arsenic in foods for decades, and in 2011, increased its testing.
On September 6, 2013, FDA released the analytical results of approximately 1,100 new samples of rice and rice products as part of a major effort to understand and manage possible arsenic-related risks associated with the consumption of these foods in the U.S. marketplace. These 1,100 new samples are in addition to the approximately 200 samples of rice and rice products that the FDA initially tested and released the findings in September 2012.


There are two types of Arsenic which make up Total Arsenic and they are Inorganic (considered the most damaging) and Organic. The only standard for these two is the presence of Inorganic Arsenic (InAs) in water of 10 parts per billion(ppb) per liter of water. There is also a loose value of 10 grams of InAs for lifetime exposure floating around out there. The various studies/white papers (FDA, WHO, IBCMT) all find varying levels of InAs in rice that are comparable in the data sets, as well as other foods. What isn't fully determined is the primary sources for the InAs out there. A lot of supposition is based on the past usage of Lead Arsenic based pesticides, close proximity to copper smelters and down wind drift - but, and this is a big BUT, InAs is a naturally occurring compound in various soils, most heavily in clay soils.

That last bit about clay soils is significant - because the foods with the largest concentrations of InAs in the USA come from farmlands in the southern states that have been converted from cotton production to food production. The significance there is that many cotton farmers used Lead Arsenic based pesticides to fight boll weevil infestations and InAs is persistent, but the soil itself is heavy clay and is naturally high in InAs compounds.

The best that comes out of all of this is the recommendation to diversify what grains you eat, if any. Research is still ongoing on the long term effects of InAs, and that the current concentrations are not an immediate danger to most folks as long as the person eats a rounded and well balanced diet (FDA statement).

The Consumer Reports recommendations are by far the most conservative that I found out there, extremely conservative to some folks (the rice lobby) and middling conservative to others (mostly scientists who have been studying this). My other take is that regardless of the organic or inorganic methods of farming used - arsenic is there and it will be taken up by the various plants - rice is just one of the worst since it lives in water for a significant part of its growth cycle. The last thing I found in all this research this morning - arsenic is very persistent in the soil. Long after (as in tens to hundreds of years) Lead Arsenic based pesticides were used, they will still be in that soil. There really isn't any bio-remediation for metals (which arsenic is one of) that doesn't include pulling the substances out of the soil and then moving them to someplace else. It is a base substance - it doesn't get reduced like most of the glyphosphate based compounds - it just gets used. Interesting factoid - phosphate increases the uptake of InAs in plants - be gentle with soil amendments it seems.

My personal thing going forward - I'm going to still eat rice at about the same rate I have been, I loves me some rice pudding - almost as much as huckleberry pie. It also never hurts to be conservative and balanced in what you eat and how much of it you eat. TEFA if at all possible, but seasonable for sure.


ETA: Added the pic from the FDA website to the quote - giant wall of text otherwise.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!