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Your Environment. Your Health.

Arsenic in Rice and Other Foods

Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH)

Wooden spoons with rice

February 27, 2014

Arsenic poisoning is a recognized health threat worldwide. Although contaminated drinking water is a primary culprit, people can also be exposed to arsenic through foods. In this podcast, learn why rice and other foods sometimes contain arsenic and get tips on how to reduce your exposure.

Experts

Mary Lou Guerinot, Ph.D.

Mary Lou Guerinot, Ph.D., is the Ronald and Deborah Harris professor of biological sciences at Dartmouth College and associate director of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of trace element uptake and its regulation. Her long-term goal is to understand how plants acquire trace elements from the soil and distribute them while protecting themselves from the potential damage such elements can cause to living tissues. As part of several multi-investigator projects, Guerinot is using ICP-MS (inductively coupled spectroscopy-mass spectroscopy) to examine the connections between a plant's genome and its elemental profile. She also uses SXRF (synchrotron x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy) to precisely localize various elements within living plant tissues.

Arsenate and Phosphate molecular structure
Arsenate and phosphate have similar structures and rice plants take up arsenic through the same mechanisms used to take up phosphate.

For More Information

Arsenic in Food – Darthmouth SRP 
Learn about the latest findings from researchers in the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program on this website that includes arsenic FAQ’s and consumer-friendly factsheets.

Health implications of Arsenic in Our Food System – PEPH Webinar 
Watch a video archive of the April 2012 NIEHS PEPH webinar on “Examining and Communicating the Health Implications of Arsenic in Our Food System” featuring experts from the Dartmouth SRP.

Study: Toenails Help Trace Arsenic Exposure from Foods
A 2014 NIEHS Environmental Factor article highlighting research showing that diet can be a significant source of arsenic exposure.

Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products - FDA 
Find statements, consumer updates, Q&As, and the results of a 2013 sampling study on this website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Arsenic in Your Food – Consumer Reports 
Read the results of tests conducted by Consumer Reports to investigate the presence of arsenic in rice and other foods in 2012.

We want your feedback!

Send comments, questions, and suggestions for future podcast topics to podcast@niehs.nih.gov .

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