The upcoming October issue of Discover features an article on the growing concern over arsenic levels in rice. Rice plants are able to absorb arsenic from the soil, and the result is that current rice contains unhealthy levels of arsenic. If these arsenic levels continue to rise, rice could lead to genetic death and damage to Americans exposed to arsenic poisoning.
As a response to this growing concern of arsenic-laden rice, a number of consumer health advocates have appealed the Government to install safety regulations for rice. Such safety regulations already exist in China. Currently, both the World Health Organization and U.S. Food and Drug Administration are researching the arsenic-rice issue.
While Americans wait for larger powers to address the issue, the negative impact of arsenic rice is already apparent. A study of 400 people in West Bengal India confirmed that arsenic rice, when eaten as a food staple, can lead to genetic damage in humans. Researchers took urine sample from the rice-eating Indians and confirmed that arsenic had already entered their bodies in harmful levels. Researchers were able to further link arsenic levels of rice fields to the number of abnormal cells in those that ate rice from them.
Arsenic levels in rice have been a known concern for over a decade, but this latest report further presents the danger of the situation. With this new evidence, it seems likely that health agencies will be forced to address this arsenic rice problem soon.