In Asia, rice is considered a staple food in everyday meals. But a new study from American consumer group Consumer Reports reveals that higher levels of arsenic have been detected in rice-based foods. According to the report, eating rice once a day can increase arsenic levels in the body by at least 44%.
The extra toxic element is mostly the result of various natural and man-made processes that can accumulate in rice grains as they grow. This include pesticides and wood preservatives, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, inorganic arsenic (a form of arsenic that has not bonded with carbon) has been shown to persist in the soil for more than 45 years.
In light of this, the US Food and Drug Administration has announced plans to collect data on 1,200 food samples by the end of 2012 to make its own recommendation on arsenic intake. They also added that the news does not mean that consumers should stop eating rice but just add more variety to their diet.