(NaturalNews) "Scientists studying childhood leukemia cases in Arizona and Nevada say their research shows a possible link between tungsten and the disease," reported Fox News in 2009. The article is about the discovery of "childhood leukemia clusters" in Sierra Vista, Arizona and Fallon, Nevada.
An industrial operation there, it turns out, was emitting large amounts of tungsten into the air in Fallon, causing environmental levels of the heavy metal to rise substantially. As Science Daily reports:
The amount of tungsten in tree rings from Fallon quadrupled between 1990 and 2002, whereas the amount in tree rings from nearby towns remained the same, according to a research team led by Paul R. Sheppard of The University of Arizona's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
That same article goes on to report, "Since 1997, 17 cases of childhood leukemia have been diagnosed in children who lived in the Fallon area for some time prior to diagnosis. Fallon's high incidence of leukemia has been acknowledged as a leukemia cluster by the Nevada State Health Division."
Just as importantly, it also mentions the conclusion of a 2003 HHS report which investigated the causes of the leukemia cluster. That report named the heavy metal tungsten as "a contaminant of concern because it was elevated in urine samples" of Fallon-are residents.
The tungsten in Fallon was coming from nearby tungsten mines and a "tungsten carbide processing operation" which manufactured tungsten-based products for machinery and tools.
Health Ranger finds over 10 ppm tungsten in popular rice protein superfoods
As many Natural News already know, I was the first food researcher in the world to identify the heavy metal tungsten in popular rice protein products sold on the shelves right now at Whole Foods, Amazon.com and other retailers of natural products.
The following chart shows a summary of my findings, revealing levels from 2 - 10 ppm of tungsten in popular rice proteins purchased in late 2013 and early 2014: (SOURCE)
This tungsten, I later found, seems to be only found in rice protein and not pea protein, hemp protein, whey protein, sacha inchi protein or nut proteins that we tested. Nearly all the rice protein used in North America today comes from China and other Asian nations, where industrial manufacturing of machine parts and electronics that use tungsten is very common.
Tungsten, like other heavy metals, can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles through the air and settle on agricultural lands. It can also be dumped into waters that might later be used to irrigate rice crops. My Youtube video on heavy metals contamination explains why industrial pollution is not "naturally occurring" as is claimed by some heavy metals deniers who are selling contaminated products.
You can also watch that video here:
Rice protein manufacturers agree to meet strict limits on tungsten set by Natural News
That limit is 50 ppb, which is also written as 0.05 ppm (parts per million).
Right now, there are still a great many rice protein products on the shelf which contain from 2,000 - 10,000 ppb tungsten, but fortunately nearly all the leading vegan protein manufacturers have committed to drastically reducing tungsten levels by July 1, 2015. For some of these products, it means they will have to reduce tungsten concentrations by a factor of 200. For other products that don't use rice protein, they are already lower than 50 ppb tungsten.
Sadly the response to all this from a few of the smaller industry players has been one of denial, claiming tungsten doesn't matter because the FDA isn't checking for tungsten. That's a highly irresponsible -- perhaps even negligent -- stance to take, given that tungsten has been linked to not only leukemia clusters but also increased stroke risk.
Can rice protein from China ever meet tungsten limits?
One of the questions that has arisen in all this is whether rice protein from China -- currently one of the primary sources of rice protein formulated into U.S. products -- can ever meet the 50 ppb limit for tungsten.
I have been told in private discussions that if rice farms containing high levels of tungsten are eliminated from the supply chain, there won't be enough rice protein to meet current market demand.
Of course, that assumes market demand stays a constant, which it probably won't. As word spreads about how much tungsten is found right now in rice protein products, consumer demand will likely shift to "protein blends" which use little or no rice protein at all. We've already seen the success of this strategy with Vega protein products which blend pea, hemp and sacha inchi proteins to achieve remarkably low heavy metals levels (less than 1/10th the concentrations we've seen in rice protein).
SunWarrior's "Warrior Blend" products, based on non-rice protein sources, have also tested remarkably low in heavy metals. I've also received word from many companies in the natural products space who tell me they are reformulating their products to de-emphasize rice protein because they have little confidence that rice protein from Asia can ever meet the limits agreed upon by all the top industry players, which are:
Factually speaking, the higher levels of lead, cadmium, tungsten and mercury found in rice products grown in Asia are a result of industrial contamination, in exactly the same way that high tungsten levels in children in Fallon, Nevada were due to a tungsten processing operation located in that town which released tungsten pollution into the air. Those deniers who say 500 ppb of lead in rice protein is "naturally occurring" must also believe that the tungsten in the bodies of children in Fallon, Nevada is also naturally occurring.
California has strict environmental controls over nearly all emissions, and as much as we all might think that complying with California's environmental standards is a huge regulatory burden, it is clearly achieving measurable results. The California-grown rice we've tested is very, very clean, with virtually ZERO levels of lead, cadmium and mercury (click here for actual lab test results).
So why don't rice protein companies source their rice from California or Texas?
So if rice protein companies really wanted clean rice protein, they would only need to source that rice from the USA and process it in the USA. There's a lot of rice grown not just in California but also in Texas. You can read about rice production in Texas via the Texas State Historical Association, which says:
Although there was early domestic cultivation of rice in Louisiana and Texas, commercial rice production began in Louisiana shortly before the Civil War and in the 1880s spread rapidly through the coastal prairies of southwest Louisiana into southeast Texas. Arkansas, California, Louisiana, and Texas now produce 90 percent of the American rice crop, with lesser production along the Mississippi River in Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.
See, America really does have the ability to produce rice products if there's consumer demand for cleaner products. That's why our efforts here at Natural News are consistently conducted with strong support for U.S. farmers as well as environmentally-responsible food production practices.
Why are health-conscious, environmentally-conscious consumers buying rice derivatives from China, anyway?
Finally, I've always wondered why people who are so into conscious health, protecting the environment, nutrition and holistic foods were buying so much rice protein made in China and other Asian nations in the first place. It just never made any sense to me.
These are many of the same people who support movements like "Eat local" and organic farming. Yet they buy products grown half-way around the world on farms which are located downwind (or down stream) from industrial facilities that emit substantial quantities of heavy metals into the environment.
The contradiction always stuck me as bizarre. Sure, I can understand that buying cacao products requires sourcing them from South America due to the fact that the North American climate simply doesn't support cacao production. For many superfoods, you have to source them from other countries. But not rice. Rice can successfully be grown right here in America, just like hemp (which is another discussion altogether).
So why aren't U.S. companies buying rice protein from U.S. producers who are making it from U.S. rice?
The answer is one of supply and demand. Because nobody is demanding rice protein from the USA, there isn't anyone making it in substantial quantities. Most consumers are blindly buying protein products while having no idea where the protein really comes from, and so they inadvertently support the industry practice of sourcing raw materials wherever they can be found in sufficient quantities, regardless of the level of tungsten or other heavy metals they might contain.
Remember, you vote with your dollars. When you buy conventional Corn Flakes cereal, you are voting for Monsanto. When you buy Chicken McNuggets, you are voting for mass chicken factory operations. And when you buy rice protein sold by U.S. companies but imported from Asian nations, you are voting for food derivatives grown half-way around the world in fields that often contain alarming levels of industrial heavy metals.
Huge market opportunity for California rice protein or Texas rice protein
This is why I believe there is a huge market opportunity right now for anyone who wants to produce rice protein grown in the USA. A "California Rice Protein" product would achieve tremendous market penetration, as would rice proteins based on rice grown in Texas or other states.
Any company that produces a clean rice protein derived from U.S. rice would have the support of myself and Natural News in publicizing their products. And I'm willing to bet the protein wouldn't contain any significant concentrations of tungsten, either.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.