Consumer Reports released a study this week regarding an investigation into arsenic levels in rice. After testing more than 60 rice products, the organization found there were “worrisome” levels of arsenic in all products.
Rice is the number one food source of arsenic in human diets, reportedly containing five times more than oatmeal.
Arsenic is an element found in nature and in man-made products, including various types of pesticides, according to My Health News Daily.
Because it is in the soil, plants absorb arsenic when they grow, which explains how it gets into our food products.
Because Consumer Reports detected “worrisome” levels of arsenic have been detected in our foods, experts are warning consumers to take caution, especially warning parents not to give more than one serving per day of infant rice cereal to their children.
Following the Consumer Reports investigation, which rested 60 rice products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is conducting its own full study and has already tested more than 200 rice products. Various products have included rice cereals and beverages, and the FDA has already found traces of arsenic in all products. In total, more than 1,000 products will be tested over the course of a year.
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The FDA may owe Dr. Oz an apology. Back in September, the government agency called a segment that aired on the Dr. Oz Show “irresponsible and misleading” for warning viewers that many brands of apple juice contain levels of arsenic higher than the acceptable minimum for drinking water. The FDA criticized the show, which found that 10 different samples to be unsafe, for not differentiating between toxic inorganic arsenic and organic arsenic, considered to be safe. Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen that is found in some pesticides and wood treatments, and there is no federal limit set for the amount that can acceptably found in fruit juices.
However, the FDA is considering reversing its position on arsenic in juice, as mounting evidence is corroborating with Dr. Oz’s findings. Consumer Reports found that about ten percent of the apple and grape juice they tested contained more total arsenic than then acceptable levels for drinking water, which is less than 10 parts per billion (ppb). Out of 88, they found total levels of arsenic that ranged 5.9 to 24.7 ppb from 1.1 to 13.9 ppb for apple juice. Furthermore, the majority of this arsenic was shown to be cancer-causing inorganic form.
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If you are one of the many parents now second guessing your decision to pack a juice box in your child’s lunch tomorrow, you are not alone. In a recent episode of the Dr. Oz Show, national health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz claimed that apple juice not only contains arsenic, but levels much higher than what is deemed safe for our drinking water.
According to an independent study conducted on behalf of the Dr. Oz Show, ten of the three dozen apple juices sampled came back with an arsenic level higher than the amount allowed in drinking water. Of these, Gerber, Juicy Juice, and Mott’s were three of the highest with 36 parts per billion, 22 parts per billion, and 16 parts per billion reported, respectively.
Yet, despite these results, the FDA wants you to feel assured that pouring a glass of apple juice is still safe to do. In fact, the FDA claims there is no public health risk associated with drinking apple juice and that they have been performing safety checks for years to ensure that what we drink is indeed safe.
A safety level for arsenic has not been set for juices and although this may seem alarming, the FDA states that the type of arsenic primarily found in juices is organic arsenic, an essentially harmless form. In the case of water, the primary source is inorganic arsenic which is the form typically considered to negatively impact health when consumed in large quantities.
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