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Eating rice contributes to arsenic exposure

Posted: July 1, 2012 |   Comments

U.S. women who reported eating average-sized portions of rice had higher levels of arsenic exposure compared to women who didn't eat rice, indicating that food may provide potentially harmful levels of arsenic.

Eating even relatively modest levels of rice - about a half a cup of cooked rice a day - can significantly contribute to arsenic exposure in the U.S. population, reports a study of pregnant women who live in New Hampshire.
Women who were exposed through both eating rice and drinking water had on average twice the level of arsenic in their urine than women who did not eat rice and were exposed only through water.

The results show the rice portions reported in the study contributed about the same levels of arsenic as drinking a liter of water containing 10 micrograms of arsenic. Ten micrograms per liter (g/L) is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) upper limit for arsenic in drinking water.

It is unclear whether these levels of arsenic exposure would affect the health of the pregnant women or their developing children.

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