Arsenic Levels in Rice: What Does it Mean for Your Health?

Consumer Reports released a report detailing what it calls worrisome levels of arsenic.
3:00 | 09/19/12

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Transcript for Arsenic Levels in Rice: What Does it Mean for Your Health?
Sure. Now, to new warnings about an american staple, rice. "Consumer reports" is releasing a new report detailing what it calls worrisome levels of arsenic in rice products. The fda is out with a similar report today. What does this mean for your family's health and the family dinner table? Abc's jim avila is in washington with that. Good morning, jim. Reporter: Good morning, elizabeth. It's a world staple. And now, a troubling warning that limits how much rice we eat, from a prominent source. Rice eaten just once a day, can drive arsenic levels in the human body up 44%. Eaten twice a day, can lead to a 70% increase in arsenic, according to a sobering report, released to "good morning america" by "consumer reports" magazine this morning. Consumers ought to take steps to moderate their consumption. Reporter: "Consumer reports" tested for arsenic in many forms of rice. From cereal to babies and adults, to whole grain. The magazine calls worrisome levels of arsenic. Some products had five-times more than the arsenic found in oatmeal. 1 1/2-times more than the epa's legal standard for drinking water. Inorganic arsenic is considered a level one carcinogen, linked to lung and bladder cancer. The fda is studying arsenic in rice, too, and recommends a varied diet. We called for that on apple juice in january we're calling for that in rice products today. Reporter: Surprisingly, when it comes to arsenic, the less nutritional white rice is better than brown, since the carcinogen is most rprevalent in the outer layers of the grain. The usa rice federation does not dispute that arsenic is in rice. While that's a scary word, there's no documented evidence of actual illness linked to rice. Rice is a safe and nutritious food. There's very, very low levels. Reporter: Rice contains more arsenic that other grains, experts say, because it's grown while submerged in water, soaking the poison from the ground into the rice. One suggestion from "consumer reports," cook the water in fresh water, lots of it, a six

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