Many of us are regular consumers of rice – on average, as a nation we consume 150million kg of the stuff per year. Around 90 percent of households in the UK buy rice – so why does rice have arsenic in it?
Arsenic is an element in the Earth’s crust that’s naturally found in the air, water and soil, so the fact that it is in rice isn’t entirely alarming.
Arsenic can however also be a result of human activity, such as mining or the use of certain pesticides.
Arsenic is classed as a group one carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and exposure has been linked to developing the disease.
Studies have also linked high prolonged exposure with adverse health effects in multiple organs, including the heart, stomach and kidneys.
So the presence of something as dangerous as arsenic is worrying when it’s in our everyday foods.
But according to the European Food Safety Authority, children are two to three times more susceptible to arsenic than adults, due to their low body weight.
While the threat of arsenic in rice isn’t an overwhelming threat to your everyday health if you eat in semi regularly, there are several things you can replace it with easily.
Amaranth, buckwheat, millet and polenta have almost no levels of arsenic.
Bulgur, barley, and quinoa has a lower level of arsenic than rice.