Following Consumer Reports’ January investigation that found arsenic in apple and grape juices, they recently tested more than 200 samples of a wide variety of rice products, including white and brown rice, cakes, crackers and cereals. Often, rice cereal is a baby’s first solid food, raising concerns about not only what we put into our own bodies, but what we’re feeding our children. Many household brands, including those aimed at the gaining gluten-free market were found to contain measurable amounts of arsenic in its two forms. While both the organic and inorganic forms are harmful, inorganic arsenic is a human carcinogen and has been known to cause skin, lung, and bladder cancer. Following these reports, the USA Rice Federation fired back, claiming that there are no documented adverse health effects from ingesting rice containing arsenic. Meanwhile, local organic food supporters are not surprised at the find. “Why are we seeing arsenic pop up in our food? Because it’s in our water, in our soil. How did it get there? We put it there,” Home Grown Foods Owner Amanda Owen told KY3 in an interview. The report says the remnants of lead-arsenate insecticides used years ago lingers in the soil–even though they were banned in the 80’s. “It’s important to know where your food is coming from, who grew it and how,” Owen said. While arsenic can leave the body in a day or two once consumption has ceased, long-term continous exposure to low doses of arsenic may change the way cells communicate, and reduce their ability to function. It could potentially play a role in the development of diabetes, vascular disease and lung disease as well as the previously mentioned cancers.
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