FDA working on plan to limit arsenic levels in rice By Dina ElBoghdady, Published: September 18 | Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 3:00 AM
[Excerpted] The Food and Drug Administration plans to announce Wednesday that it is working toward a proposal that would limit the amount of arsenic in rice, a staple of the American diet that has long been identified as a leading dietary source of the toxin.
The announcement is set to coincide with the release of a Consumer Reports study that analyzed more than 200 samples of roughly 60 rice products — from bulk rice to baby foods to instant cereals — and found that nearly all of them contained the “inorganic” form of arsenic that’s known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancers...
But while Consumer Reports recommends that consumers reduce their rice consumption for now, the FDA does not advise a change in eating habits....
...The government limits the amount of arsenic in drinking water, but virtually no standards exist for arsenic in foods....
...Urvashi Rangan, a director of Consumer Reports and a toxicologist [said] ... just because arsenic is naturally occurring, that does not mean it is safe....
Majia here: Someone reading this article might conclude that arsenic in rice is no big deal because, after all, people must have been eating arsenic in rice for hundreds of years.
However, it is important to realize that our body burdens of chemicals and radiation are today at unprecedented levels if we look at the global situation. Our environment is becoming increasingly saturated with dangerous elements and chemicals.
As a general rule, the EPA and FDA guidelines do not set risk calculations based on genetic level effects.
Consequently, our health guidelines essentially allow us to accumulate historically unprecedented volumes of dangerous synthetic and naturally occurring radioactive elements and chemicals in our bodies.
The presence of naturally occurring dangerous substances, such as arsenic, becomes even more important given our total body burden.
The importance of arsenic in rice is amplified still more by the common practice of feeding infants rice as their first "solid" food. This cultural habit is noted by an industry scientist in the article, who trivializes the impact of arsenic on babies.
Please see "Our Vulnerable Genome" for discussion of the implications for our long term survival