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FDA detects low levels of arsenic in rice, not enough to cause immediate harm, long-term effects remain unknown

Posted: September 9, 2013 |   Comments

( The Food and Drug Administration has completed a new study in which they found samples of rice to be contaminated with arsenic. The FDA tested more than 1,300 samples of rice and rice products. Average levels of inorganic arsenic found in rice ranged from 2.6 to 7.2 micrograms per serving, with instant rice at the low end and brown rice at the high end. Average levels of inorganic arsenic found in rice products ranged from 0.1 to 6.6 micrograms per serving, with infant formula at the bottom and rice pasta at the top.

Arsenic comes in two types, organic and inorganic. Organic arsenic passes through the body and is not known to be very harmful. Inorganic arsenic is found in some pesticides and is a toxic substance that may increase one's risk of cancer if consumed at high levels or over a long period. Arsenic is found naturally present in low levels in water, air, soil, and, subsequently, food.

"These amounts of detectable arsenic are not high enough to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects," the FDA's website reads. However, they are unsure of what long-term effects may occur from consuming low levels of arsenic.

The FDA says that it now intends to conduct a risk assessment for consumption of arsenic in rice and is also conducting additional sampling to broaden its data on infant and toddler products. In the meantime, the agency advises consumers to eat a well-balanced diet, vary their grains and consider diversifying infant foods.

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