Arsenic in Rice
Recently articles on the subject of arsenic in rice have been circulating again, prompting many of you to ask whether you should be concerned with consuming rice and rice products. First let me explain why arsenic levels may be high in rice and rice products. The toxic form of arsenic is found in various man-made sources including pressure-treated wood, insecticides, metal foundries, glues and cigarette smoke to name a few. From these sources it can contaminate soil and drinking water. Because of the chemistry of arsenic it very tightly binds to soil and water, creating particularly high levels in the top layers of wetland soils, which is where rice plants and their shallow roots grow. Rice and rice products may then have higher arsenic contamination than say a food product whose roots grow at deeper levels in drier soils.
- Try rice alternatives such as quinoa grains or almond milk.
- Organic products are not arsenic free. To be certified as organic, soil cannot have been exposed to chemical insecticides for a minimum number years, however given how long arsenic can contaminate soil and that it can transfer via contaminated water, you should be aware that organic products also can be contaminated with arsenic.
- Always rinse your rice grains before cooking.
- Cook your rice with 6 parts water to 1 part rice and pour off the extra water after cooking. This will reduce arsenic via the discarded water.
- Where rice is grown matters, as arsenic contamination levels in soil and water vary geographically. Lundberg from California, Thai Jasmine and Indian Basmati rice are thought to have lower levels of arsenic due to the geography of where they are grown.
- Incorporate foods in your diet with detoxifying properties to support your body’s ability to clear toxins like arsenic such as cilantro, cabbage, chard, celery, garlic, spirulina,and chlorella.
In health and wellness,