Originally published November 19 2014
New Consumer Report: Just one weekly serving of rice pasta could put your baby at risk for arsenic poisoning
by Julie Wilson staff writer
(NaturalNews) A new analysis by Consumer Reports explains how easy it is for infants to consume dangerous amounts of arsenic in common foods like hot rice cereal and rice pasta. Just one serving of rice pasta can put your child over the recommended weekly limit, according to the new report, which also details safer alternatives for grains including quinoa, buckwheat and basmati rice grown in California.
A 2012 investigation by Consumer Reports discovered "significant levels" of inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, in a range of rice products including organic, conventional and gluten-free rice.
Inorganic arsenic found in most rice productsMore than 200 rice products were tested, with inorganic arsenic showing up in nearly every "...product category along with organic arsenic, which is less toxic but still of concern." Organic arsenic is considered to be less or nontoxic to humans and is naturally occurring within the earth's crust.
Despite warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that there are no "safe" levels of exposure to inorganic arsenic, federal limits regarding arsenic levels only apply to drinking water and not food products.
However, in July 2013 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed to limit arsenic in apple juice following widespread consumer concern after Dr. Oz and Consumer Reports found that 10 percent of juice samples from five brands tested positive for arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking water standards.
New research suggests eating a variety of grains to avoid exposure to arsenicThe most recent testing performed by Consumer Reports provides new information on the risk of arsenic exposure through rice cereal and other rice products. After reviewing data released by the FDA in 2013 on the inorganic arsenic content of more than 650 processed rice-containing products, the monthly magazine found that rice cereal and rice pasta had more inorganic arsenic compared with their data from 2012.
The new results concluded that just "one serving of either could put kids over the maximum amount of rice we recommend they should have in a week. Rice cakes supply close to a child's weekly limit in one serving."
The report also found rice drinks to be high in arsenic, recommending that children under five avoid them at all costs, drinking milk instead. Consumer Report's 2012 recommendation that babies eat no more than one serving of infant rice cereal per day, instead adding a variety of grains to their diet, remained unchanged with the new results.
Regular arsenic exposure can increase your risk for bladder, lung and skin cancerAside from increasing your risk for developing numerous cancers, regular exposure to small amounts of arsenic can cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes and affect the immune system of unborn babies.
Consuming grains like millet, buckwheat, basmati rice and quinoa can lower your exposure to arsenic, according to recent data, but white rice grown in Texas, Arkansas or Louisiana had the highest levels of arsenic. Brown rice also had high levels as arsenic accumulates in the grain's outer layers, which are removed during the white rice process.
"White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice, "states the report.
Gluten-free grains amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and polenta or grits had negligible levels of inorganic arsenic. Quinoa (gluten-free), bulgur, barley and faro all had low levels as well. Researchers note that some samples of quinoa had "quite a bit more" arsenic, but levels were still low compared to rice.
It may be possible to reduce your exposure to arsenic by thoroughly rinsing any type of raw rice before cooking, and using a ratio of 6 cups water to 1 cup of rice, making sure to drain any excess water before eating. Previous research suggests rinsing raw rice removes about 30 percent of the rice's inorganic arsenic content.
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