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Should I be worried about the arsenic in rice?

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Hi there and thank you for your question!

Arsenic is a natural element that can be found in water, air and soil and can affect long-term health (1, 2). Arsenic is linked to some cancers and can cause problems during pregnancy and child development (1, 2). Rinsing rice before cooking can remove about 40-60% of the arsenic, depending on the type of rice (1). Use a ratio of 6 to 10 cups of water to 1 cup of rice and drain the excess water (1).

Rice has higher levels of arsenic than other crops, but it can still be part of a balanced eating pattern (1). The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to feed infants and toddlers a variety of grains rather than only feeding them infant rice cereal (2). There are other infant cereal grains, such as oatmeal, barley and multigrain (2). Eating a variety of grains and other food groups can be helpful for both nutrition and food safety.

Learn more about other grains or try one of these recipes next time you are preparing and cooking rice!

Hope this helps!

 

Cheers,

Anna Ng, RD 

 

References:

1. "What You Can Do to Limit Exposure to Arsenic." U.S. FDA. Updated March 26, 2019. Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.fda.gov/food/metals-and-your-food/what-you-can-do-limit-exposure-arsenic

2. Korioth, T. "Parent Plus: Limit infants’ exposure to arsenic by feeding a variety of grains." Published May 19, 2016. Accessed December 20, 2020. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2016/05/19/Arsenic051916

Anna NgRegistered Dietitian