Arsenic in Brown Rice: How Worried Should We Be?

Arsenic in Brown Rice: How Worried Should We Be?

Megan Gordon
Apr 26, 2013

Have you heard that brown rice has been found to contain trace amounts of arsenic? As a brown rice lover, all of the varying reports have been a bit confusing and tough to unpack. Some news sources are saying to avoid it at all costs while others are saying it's not a serious situation. Last week, The New York Times came up with the perfect description: "the arsenic conundrum." So how serious of an issue is it, really?

Martha Rose Schulman from The New York Times notes, "It is clear that the levels of inorganic arsenic in rice and rice products are high, and that we and especially children, babies and pregnant women should limit our intake of rice and rice products such as cereals, rice cakes and rice beverages."

But cut it out completely? I've been torn about what to do with our bulk supply of brown rice. I haven't been purchasing new rice at the store, but we do have a pretty decent backstock at home and I've been hesitant to use it. Consumers Reports advocates limiting the daily consumption of rice to one serving per week for kids and pregnant women and two servings for adults who don't fit into those categories.

The good news? Many rice products are actually lower in arsenic than others, and the Consumers Union is trying to get pesticides laced with arsenic phased out. So it appears as though this is a case of moderation and awareness — all the while hoping that the levels in the rice supply begin to decrease.

Read More → Brown Rice and the Arsenic Conundrum by Martha Rose Schulman for The New York Times

Also: Arsenic in Your Food by Consumer Reports

(Image: Emily Han)

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