Posted at: 09/21/2012 6:44 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
Concern Over Arsenic in Rice Hits Ethnic Communities
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Rice is a staple food item that many families eat several times a week. Some, even several times a day. But a new Consumer Reports study suggests there may be dangers in eating the food.
Cooking rice is part of Yasmine Kunze's Phillipino culture.
"It's so deeply engrained into our identity," said Kunze.
And is something she does often.
"Usually in a single day, we eat twice a day. Lunch or dinner," she added.
But a new study done by Consumer Reports suggests that might be dangerous. The study looked at organic rice baby cereal, rice breakfast cereals, brown, and white rice, and found that all contain Arsenic.
"There is a slight increase inorganic arsenic which is potentially linked to cancer and other risks," said Dr. Esther Krych of Mayo Clinic.
Some specific trends stick out- The majority of U.S. grown rice had higher levels of Arsenic than rice grown in other areas. Brown rice tested higher than white rice. And those who ate rice had Arsenic levels that were 44% higher than those who did not, including certain ethnic groups, including Hispanics and Asians.
"I was pretty shocked when I heard that because I've been eating rice all my life," said Kunze.
But Dr. Krych says don't cut out rice from your diet just yet.
"The truth is we don't really know the link between the Arsenic level is in rice and health problems, so it's really just an awareness that's been raised, but we're not necessarily saying that yes, this will cause problems in kids or adults or other people that eat rice," she said.
And culturally, she hasn't seen a difference.
"The people who eat rice for cultural reasons on a regular basis have not been shown to have higher health problems than people who don't eat rice on a regular basis," added Krych.
Offering some relief for Kunze.
"It would be like telling Garfield that he can't eat lasagna."
The study does offer ways to lower your Arsenic risk. It suggests testing your water for Arsenic or lead, changing the way you cook rice-specifically washing the rice carefully and draining excess water, eating a variety of foods, and try other grains like wheat and oats.