It's a staple in just about every diet. But now Consumer Reports is warning that most rice has moderate amounts of arsenic and at levels that should concern parents.
Consumer Reports tested 200 samples and found a "worrisome" level of both organic and inorganic arsenic, a potent human carcinogen that could cause health problems in children.
"This isn't a matter of trace amounts. These are moderate to moderately high levels of arsenic," says Urvashi Rangan, Scientist for Consumer Reports.
Arsenic is naturally occuring in the soil and rice is grown in wet fields. That makes it easier for rice to absorb the arsenic. Fertilizers and pesticides also contributed to levels even in organic products.
The question is: Can this hurt you?
"There has been no reports of any poisonings, or reports of any adverse effects to rice cake consumption," says Dr. Alfred Aleguas with Northeast Ohio Poison Control Center.
Dr. Aleguas says rice isn't harmful in moderation and if it comes from certain regions.
"Inorganic arsenic levels were not seen in rice that was grown in California, because those areas never use arsenical pesticides, and in Asia."
The FDA has been looking into arsenic levels in rice, but hasn't released any recommendations or regulations yet.
To read the entire report by Consumer Reports, click here.