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New Study On Rice And Arsenic Poisoning
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33 posts in this topic

I usually am just a "lurker" here (and I must say, I've gotten invaluable info from this site) but I just came across this article regarding arsenic levels and rice:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/...70305092336.htm

Source: American Chemical Society

Date: March 5, 2007

More on:

Agriculture and Food, Hazardous Waste, Oceanography, Food, Geography, Soil Types

Elevated Arsenic Levels Reported In Rice Grown In South Central States

Science Daily

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If you are interested in the toxin levels in american foods; there is a really good book called, "Diet for a poisoned planet" 2nd Edition by David Steinman. I found it a very interesting read. He uses research for many of his arguments. In the 2nd edition he retested foods from the 1st edition to see if the toxin levels changed.

I would love to research and write a book like this for Canada.

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This is really scary! We eat a lot of rice products. Our cereal, bread, cookies, pancakes, pasta all have rice in them. I'm so suprised that gluten-free folk don't seem to be as concerned. Maybe I'm overreacting, but we're probably injesting lots of arsenic if we're eating all this gluten-free stuff, as well as the plain old rice on occasion.

I'm definitely going to check out that book. But, I'm almost afraid to delve further into this. If gluten isn't good for us, and the gluten-free foods made with rice are putting arsenic into our systems, there's not too many foods left. I have 2 gluten-free children, and the rice bread, pastas, cookies have been a saving grace, but the thought of arsenic in all that scares me.

Thanks for responding, was starting to feel like I should have just stayed in lurking mode!

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This is really scary! We eat a lot of rice products. Our cereal, bread, cookies, pancakes, pasta all have rice in them. I'm so suprised that gluten-free folk don't seem to be as concerned. Maybe I'm overreacting, but we're probably injesting lots of arsenic if we're eating all this gluten-free stuff, as well as the plain old rice on occasion.

I'm definitely going to check out that book. But, I'm almost afraid to delve further into this. If gluten isn't good for us, and the gluten-free foods made with rice are putting arsenic into our systems, there's not too many foods left. I have 2 gluten-free children, and the rice bread, pastas, cookies have been a saving grace, but the thought of arsenic in all that scares me.

Thanks for responding, was starting to feel like I should have just stayed in lurking mode!

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I usually am just a "lurker" here (and I must say, I've gotten invaluable info from this site) but I just came across this article regarding arsenic levels and rice:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/...70305092336.htm

Source: American Chemical Society

Date: March 5, 2007

More on:

Agriculture and Food, Hazardous Waste, Oceanography, Food, Geography, Soil Types

Elevated Arsenic Levels Reported In Rice Grown In South Central States

Science Daily

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I tried to reply twice above, but could only manage to quote the oriiginal poster...so, I'll try ONE MORE TIME...(this is getting on my nerves now)

I've been buying rice noodle products from China and other Asian countries, rice from Asian countries, and rice flour from India. I've done this only because it was cheaper to go into a local international market and get these items from other countries, than buying gluten free products from the U.S.

Now I guess I'm glad I do that, because it sounds like it's actually probably SAFER!

I am wondering about the packaged gluten free thigns I do buy from this country...I guess there's no way of knowing the source of the rice flour. Sounds like that grown in California is okay.

I agree this is very scary: I eat tons of rice these days too.

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Yes, this is scary.

I had a hair analysis done last year for mercury and it came back on the moderate side for arsenic. I do buy organic rice but I suppose that doesn't make much difference. <_<

We eat lots of rice as well as we all tolerate that well and don't do so well on other alternative grains.

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I tried to reply twice above, but could only manage to quote the oriiginal poster...so, I'll try ONE MORE TIME...(this is getting on my nerves now)

I've been buying rice noodle products from China and other Asian countries, rice from Asian countries, and rice flour from India. I've done this only because it was cheaper to go into a local international market and get these items from other countries, than buying gluten free products from the U.S.

Now I guess I'm glad I do that, because it sounds like it's actually probably SAFER!

I am wondering about the packaged gluten free thigns I do buy from this country...I guess there's no way of knowing the source of the rice flour. Sounds like that grown in California is okay.

I agree this is very scary: I eat tons of rice these days too.

We don't know the safety of rice from other countries though. There could be arsenic or other contaminants in their products as well. For example, rice protein and wheat gluten contaminated with melamine coming from China. (http://www.boston.com/business/articles/20...on_new_finding/)

There is potential contamination with all sorts of foods beyond rice too. Then add on air pollution, local pesticide spraying, chemicals in household goods, etc...we're getting poisoned in all sorts of ways.

Michelle

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Though I'm glad my rice comes from California, I too am concerned because of the many other rice products we all consume. Fortunately, rice isn't the only gluten-free grain which can be used to make good breads. However, what about the levels of arsenic and whatnot in those other grains, such as sorghum, millet, corn, buckwheat, etc?

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Seems these days you can't eat ANYTHING.

Head, this is my desk. Desk, meet my head. I think you'll get along.

*WHACK*

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Seems these days you can't eat ANYTHING.

Head, this is my desk. Desk, meet my head. I think you'll get along.

*WHACK*

:wacko::lol:

It's just as well I am intolerant to rice, too, so at least I won't die from arsenic poisoning.

But yes, it sure is scary.

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I'm a biogeochemist and I specialize in arsenic analysis. I focus on algae, but I have done some analysis of foods including rice. Almost all foods contain some arsenic. One poster asked about other grains. All grains can contain arsenic. Plants accumulate arsenic from the soil they are grown in. I'll be doing some fieldwork in a high arsenic area this summer and it might be interesting to collect some corn from farms in the area. Drinking water also has arsenic and the levels vary depending on where you live. Seafood, particularly, shrimp, clams etc. is very high in arsenic, but this is organic arsenic. Unlike organic mercury, organic arsenic is non-toxic. The other thing to keep in mind is that arsenic does not bioaccumulate, unlike mercury. It will be found in hair, but it doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier. The main problem with inorganic arsenic is that it increases the risk of stomach and skin cancer.

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I'm a biogeochemist and I specialize in arsenic analysis. I focus on algae, but I have done some analysis of foods including rice. Almost all foods contain some arsenic. One poster asked about other grains. All grains can contain arsenic. Plants accumulate arsenic from the soil they are grown in. I'll be doing some fieldwork in a high arsenic area this summer and it might be interesting to collect some corn from farms in the area. Drinking water also has arsenic and the levels vary depending on where you live. Seafood, particularly, shrimp, clams etc. is very high in arsenic, but this is organic arsenic. Unlike organic mercury, organic arsenic is non-toxic. The other thing to keep in mind is that arsenic does not bioaccumulate, unlike mercury. It will be found in hair, but it doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier. The main problem with inorganic arsenic is that it increases the risk of stomach and skin cancer.

Dear corinne,

This is interesting! I am glad you shared your expertise. Information such as this is not normally released to the public, although I feel it should be. It is fascinating that organic arsenic is not poisonous. Inorganic arsenic is what we need to worry about then.

I get most of my rice flour from the Chinese market. I have had them from India and China or Taiwan. I am not sure about toxins aside from the more recently exploited melamine found in the pet food. Sometimes I wonder if the only way to avoid any of these dangers is to stop eating altogether! This is scary and frustrating!

Sincerely,

NoGluGirl

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Dear corinne,

This is interesting! I am glad you shared your expertise. Information such as this is not normally released to the public, although I feel it should be. It is fascinating that organic arsenic is not poisonous. Inorganic arsenic is what we need to worry about then.

I get most of my rice flour from the Chinese market. I have had them from India and China or Taiwan. I am not sure about toxins aside from the more recently exploited melamine found in the pet food. Sometimes I wonder if the only way to avoid any of these dangers is to stop eating altogether! This is scary and frustrating!

Sincerely,

NoGluGirl

Its not really that the information isn't released but that its not put into an easily digestible (forgive the pun) format.

Arsenic isn't THAT poisionous .. which isn't to say its a good thing to have in food but since corinne mentioned mercury .. mercury is actually the only natural element NOT used by the human body..

Everything else we need in some tiny quantity.... including arsenic.

organic arsenic is non-toxic.
Is an example, it is toxic just not very and doesn't accumulate...

Organic uranium isn't THAT toxic either... its just a matter of perspective... uranium citrate is pretty soluble so if you are working with uranium the first thing to do is drink lots of real lemonade...

The thing is if the report mentioned elevated calcium or elevated selenium or one of countless suppliments many people take nonone would be worried but half the suppliments in a mutli vitamin and trace elements tablet are just as toxic as arsenic.

For almost any chemical or element this data is very publically available... just google MSDS then the name ... (material safety data sheet)...

As I have mentioned reasonably often the USGS has maps and data... its all public information...

You just need to know what you're looking for really.

http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/trace/pubs/fs-063-00/

http://wwwbrr.cr.usgs.gov/Arsenic/minerals.htm

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/arsenic/

Corinne.... I'm envious... you're doing what I intended to do... :D (seriously)... My geol undergrad dissertation was on trace elements in soil but I ended up in oil...

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Thanks for that link, since we need to stay informed about things like this.

However, we should all be aware that the article that you provided a link to appears to be a heavily-edited version of the original article that came from The American Chemical Society. If you go to the American Chemical Society site, and locate the original article, it presents a much more balanced picture.

http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/fe...f6a17245d830100

Arsenic appears in a natural state in quite a few countries besides the U. S. Organic arsenic is not known as a carcinogen, whereas inorganic arsenic is. The arsenic found In U. S. rice is primarily organic, whereas the arsenic found in rice from most other countries, is inorganic.

If we look hard enough, we can probably find a reason not to eat everything. ;)

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Gfp - that's interesting. I did my undergrad in industrial chemistry and worked in the oil industry. I eventually decided to go back to grad school in biogeochemistry. I just started a tenure track position. I love the job - but it's a definite tradeoff in terms of $$ and workload.

Just a note - organoarsenic compounds are actually non-toxic (well everything is toxic at high enough dose but ...)

Arsenate is acutely toxic because it can substitute for phosphate in ATP. The methylated arsenic(V) compounds, arsenocholine, arsenosugars etc. cannot substitute for phosphate. Arsenite is carcinogenic but all organoarsenic compounds encountered under normal conditions are variations of arsenate and are not carcinogenic. Also, as you noted, organoarsenic compounds are readily excreted.

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I used to eat any type of rice, but now that I eat so much rice I've become picky. I really like Lundberg's (from California). I've become a bit of a food snob. Maybe that's not such a bad thing!

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Gfp - that's interesting. I did my undergrad in industrial chemistry and worked in the oil industry. I eventually decided to go back to grad school in biogeochemistry. I just started a tenure track position. I love the job - but it's a definite tradeoff in terms of $$ and workload.

Wow, I really wish I'd done that ... oil was about the last thing on my mind when I started my undergrad degree...

Its just so easy to get sucked in and then not escape...(I only intended to stick with it long enough to pay off my loans and get a little reserve) ... reminds me of hotel california :D (you can check out any time you like...)

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Let's do some math:

Rice from the US has an average of 0.26 ug/g of arsenic.

Rice from India has an average of 0.05 ug/g of arsenic.

The percentage of inorganic arsenic in the US rice is 42%, or about 0.1 ug/g.

So it doesn't even matter that the percentage of inorganic arsenic in rice from India is higher, at 81%, because the amount of inorganic arsenic in US rice is twice as much as all the arsenic in the Indian rice. Organically grown California rice is said to have about 0.1 ug/g, but I didn't see a figure for the percentage of inorganic. Besides, since the organic type isn't totally safe either, I'd have to wonder how much would be just as bad as a given amount of inorganic.

As for my previous question about other grains, it seems the water-saturated soil in which rice is grown is what gets the arsenic mobile. Thus it can get into the root system of the plants. Apparently, even with elevated arsenic in the soil, other crops don't pick up nearly as much because the soil isn't as wet.

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Let's do some math:

Rice from the US has an average of 0.26 ug/g of arsenic.

Rice from India has an average of 0.05 ug/g of arsenic.

The percentage of inorganic arsenic in the US rice is 42%, or about 0.1 ug/g.

So it doesn't even matter that the percentage of inorganic arsenic in rice from India is higher, at 81%, because the amount of inorganic arsenic in US rice is twice as much as all the arsenic in the Indian rice. Organically grown California rice is said to have about 0.1 ug/g, but I didn't see a figure for the percentage of inorganic. Besides, since the organic type isn't totally safe either, I'd have to wonder how much would be just as bad as a given amount of inorganic.

As for my previous question about other grains, it seems the water-saturated soil in which rice is grown is what gets the arsenic mobile. Thus it can get into the root system of the plants. Apparently, even with elevated arsenic in the soil, other crops don't pick up nearly as much because the soil isn't as wet.

Okay, here's my big concern - I feel that we're eating so much of this stuff now that we're gluten-free. For b.fast my kids have Envirokids Cereal (rice based), Pancakes from Pamela's mix (rice based) or eggs. Lunch is quite often sandwiches with bread from rice flour. For Dinner, we often have Tinkyada Pasta (rice) or rice with our meal. Cookies, pretzels other snacks are made from rice flour. We obviously need to cool it with products made from rice! And what about those who drink rice milk on top of all that? I'm just so surprised that this is the first I've heard of this. Are there alternative flour mixes out there that do not use rice flour?

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Are there alternative flour mixes out there that do not use rice flour?

I haven't looked for pre-made mixes, but I've been using various flours such as sorghum and millet with results comparable to those I've obtained with rice flours.

Besides the usual tapioca, corn, soy, etc, here's a few kinds of gluten-free flours you might want to try:

Almond Flour/Meal

Amaranth Flour

Buckwheat Flour

Coconut Flour

Flaxseed Meal

Garbanzo Bean Flour

Green Pea Flour

Mesquite Flour

Millet Flour

Quinoa Flour

Sorghum Flour

Teff Flour

There are more of course, though I find most others to be somewhat less than easily obtainable.

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I haven't looked for pre-made mixes, but I've been using various flours such as sorghum and millet with results comparable to those I've obtained with rice flours.

Besides the usual tapioca, corn, soy, etc, here's a few kinds of gluten-free flours you might want to try:

Almond Flour/Meal

Amaranth Flour

Buckwheat Flour

Coconut Flour

Flaxseed Meal

Garbanzo Bean Flour

Green Pea Flour

Mesquite Flour

Millet Flour

Quinoa Flour

Sorghum Flour

Teff Flour

There are more of course, though I find most others to be somewhat less than easily obtainable.

Thanks, Riceguy! I have sorghum, but haven't used it yet. I've baked with flaxseed and almond meal back when I was low-carbing. Can you tell me what part sorghum and what part millet you use? Do you happen to have a recipe for bread using any of these - or can you direct me to one?

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Dear corinne, gfp, and RiceGuy,

This is fascinating information! Thank you for the links, gfp! I know arsenic is present in our drinking water here. I doubt it is organic, though. We also have an abnormally high cancer rate in this area. I am worried right now, since our water purification system broke, I have had to drink tap water. My body does not need anymore poison in it! Chlorine is not healthy, either.

Sincerely,

NoGluGirl

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Thanks, Riceguy! I have sorghum, but haven't used it yet. I've baked with flaxseed and almond meal back when I was low-carbing. Can you tell me what part sorghum and what part millet you use? Do you happen to have a recipe for bread using any of these - or can you direct me to one?

I've been playing around with the ratios of these and other flours. Thing is, I don't use potato, dairy, eggs, yeast or sugar, so any of those might benefit the texture and I won't know about it. I haven't tried cornstarch yet, which is also common in gluten-free breads. Sorghum and millet seem pretty interchangeable from what I've found, though the texture is a bit different depending on the rest of the ingredients. I've been using one or the other, or equal parts of each, and the results are just as nice. It's probably more a matter of preference. I do usually include some rice flour though, and sometimes tapioca. It just depends on what I'm trying to make.

Here's a blend I found on a site which suggested rice or millet as the main flour:

2 cups millet flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1-2 tsp. of guar or xanthan gum

I suppose you could try replacing the rice flour in this recipe with millet or sorghum:

http://glutenfreebay.blogspot.com/2007/02/...might-make.html

Here's a millet muffin recipe from Arrowhead Mills:

1-1/2 cups Millet flour

1/2 cup soy flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder (non-aluminum)

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring

1 cup water or orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cups brown rice syrup or honey (or substitute Stevia)

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all liquid ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients. Put mixture in well-oiled muffin tins. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until done.

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I've been playing around with the ratios of these and other flours. Thing is, I don't use potato, dairy, eggs, yeast or sugar, so any of those might benefit the texture and I won't know about it. I haven't tried cornstarch yet, which is also common in gluten-free breads. Sorghum and millet seem pretty interchangeable from what I've found, though the texture is a bit different depending on the rest of the ingredients. I've been using one or the other, or equal parts of each, and the results are just as nice. It's probably more a matter of preference. I do usually include some rice flour though, and sometimes tapioca. It just depends on what I'm trying to make.

Here's a blend I found on a site which suggested rice or millet as the main flour:

2 cups millet flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca flour

1-2 tsp. of guar or xanthan gum

I suppose you could try replacing the rice flour in this recipe with millet or sorghum:

http://glutenfreebay.blogspot.com/2007/02/...might-make.html

Here's a millet muffin recipe from Arrowhead Mills:

1-1/2 cups Millet flour

1/2 cup soy flour

1 Tablespoon baking powder (non-aluminum)

1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/4 teaspoon orange flavoring

1 cup water or orange juice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cups brown rice syrup or honey (or substitute Stevia)

Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix all liquid ingredients together, then add to dry ingredients. Put mixture in well-oiled muffin tins. Makes 12 muffins.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until done.

Thanks again, Rice Guy! I'm going to give the millet blend a whirl and see how it goes. I've recently been using agave nectar as a sweetener, which may work well with the 2nd recipe, for millet muffins.

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