Group Calls for Limits on Arsenic in Rice
A consumer group this week urged the U.S. government to set limits on allowable levels of arsenic in rice. Organic arsenic passes right through the body. It is considered harmless. Inorganic arsenic, found in some pesticides, can be toxic or cause cancer if consumed for a long time or at high doses. The new report from Consumer Reports magazine was based on arsenic levels in 223 samples from rice products. Inorganic arsenic ranged up to 8.7 micrograms per serving. The report compared this with New Jersey's limit of 5 micrograms per liter of water. That's one of the strictest standards in the country. But it's unclear if standards for water and food should be the same. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to the report by releasing its own test results for 200 rice samples. They showed 3.5 to 6.7 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving. The FDA said the full study will include 1,200 products. So far, the FDA said, there's no reason to believe arsenic levels in food are unsafe. But officials said people should vary their diets for the sake of good health as well as a precaution against concerns with any specific food. The Associated Press wrote about the issue.