High levels of arsenic detected in rice eaters have led to new health concerns especially in pregnant women, a new US study suggests.
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It's long been known that rice takes up more arsenic from soil than other crops.
An study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, revealed that the US women who ate half a cup of cooked rice, ingested an amount of arsenic equivalent to drinking four and a quarter cups of water with the maximum allowable level of the lethal substance.
The study was published just a few days after the release of another US report showing potentially unsafe levels of arsenic in apple juice.
Currently there are no limits on the amount of allowable arsenic in rice in the US but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set 10 micrograms per liter as the maximum allowable amount in drinking water for the substance which naturally occurs in the environment and is common in groundwater.
The new findings were so concerning for the researchers that led them to call on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put stricter regulations for the amount of allowable arsenic in rice.
Margaret Karagas and her colleagues at Dartmouth Medical School highlighted that the findings should not lead people especially women to stop eating rice, which is the dominant food source in many regions.
“Rice is a nutritious food so we are not making a dietary recommendation that women avoid it,” Karagas highlighted. “What we would like to see is for our food to be monitored for the presence of arsenic and regulated to keep it below certain levels.”