You may have seen the recent reports of the high levels of arsenic found in rice. This has been a concern for too long now. Here is the article that the Huffington Post wrote
The FDA and Consumer Reports recently released lab reports detailing just how much arsenic is in rice products — and found that many brands contain more arsenic in a single serving than what the EPA allows in a quart of drinking water.
Yes, you read that right: More arsenic in a single serving than in one quart of water.
This follows news from February, when a Dartmouth College study found arsenic in infant formula and cereal bars that used organic rice syrup as a sweetener, according to Consumer Reports.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance found in air, water and soil. Exposure to high levels of arsenic can be carcinogenic; the substance is a neurotoxin that affects brain development in young children, especially. Unfortunately, scientists don’t yet know whether or not arsenic bio-accumulates — meaning builds up in the body over time, rather than flushing out through normal bodily functions.
The FDA has not yet set a food limit for organic and inorganic arsenic (which is considered more dangerous), although they plan to do so within the next three months, according to the Boston Globe.
And although the FDA recommended not changing eating habits until their analysis is complete, Consumer Reports released a list of the highest offenders for shoppers to avoid: Martin Long Grain Brown rice, followed by Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown, and Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown.
Consumer Reports also recommended that people eat no more than three servings a week of rice products and no more than two servings a week of rice, and that children eat just one serving a week of other rice foods and avoid rice drinks altogether.
So where does that leave the mom whose shopping list includes rice cereal and/or formula?
Babies are most at risk for exposure to arsenic, since formula may be their only source of food and they may consume more arsenic per pound than adults. In February, doctors recommend not buying formulas with organic brown rice syrup as the main ingredient, according to ABC news.
Separately, parents can reduce arsenic exposure in general by making sure the water their families drink — and that they mix with powdered formula — is arsenic-free. Check the Environmental Working Group’s National Drinking Water Database to find out if arsenic is a concern where you live.
The industrialization of our world has dramatically increased the overall environmental load of heavy metal toxins. Today, trace elements and heavy metals are abundant in our air, soil, food, and drinking water. They are present in virtually every area of modern life from construction materials to cosmetics, medicines, fuel, appliances, and even personal care products. Our bodies are assaulted daily with mercury, lead, nickel, cadmium, aluminum, copper, arsenic, platinum, and a host of other heavy metals.
Heavy metal and trace element aberrations are directly causative or associative with disease and ill health. A few examples are anemia, cardiac conditions, depression, digestive problems, high blood pressure, hormone imbalance, impaired growth, infertility, insomnia, learning and behavioral problems, osteoporosis, chronic inflammation, and tumor proliferation.
According to a 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences, arsenic in drinking water causes bladder, lung, and skin cancer, and may cause kidney and liver cancer. The study also found that arsenic harms the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as heart and blood vessels, and causes serious skin problems. It can cause birth defects and reproductive problems.
Arsenic is a natural element of the earth’s crust. It is used in industry and agriculture, and for other purposes. It also is a byproduct of copper smelting, mining, and coal burning. U.S. Industries release thousands of pounds of arsenic into the environment every year.
The use of this toxic element in numerous industrial processes has resulted in its presence in many biological and ecological systems. Ground, surface, and drinking water are susceptible to arsenic poisoning from the use of arsenic in smelting, refining, galvanizing, and power plants; environmental contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, desiccants, wood preservatives, and animal feed additives; and human made hazardous waste sites, chemical wastes, and antibiotics.
Arsenic suppresses iodine and selenium. It is a carcinogen that inactivates sulfhydryl groups in enzymes leading to cell death, increases bleeding time, reduces thyroid hormone production by interfering with iodine metabolism, and depresses bone marrow involved in methionine metabolism. Low serum arsenic is correlated with central nervous system disorders, vascular disease, and cancer.
Data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on arsenic in drinking water in 25 states found conservative estimates indicate that more than 34 million Americans drink tap water supplied by systems containing average levels of arsenic that pose unacceptable cancer risks. We consider it likely that as many as 56 million people in those 25 states have been drinking water with arsenic at unsafe levels—and that is just the 25 states that reported arsenic information to the EPA.
Some plants are arsenic-resistant or can block arsenic uptake by their root systems. Still other food crops accumulate arsenic at levels that raise human health concerns. Since plants take up arsenic primarily by their roots, the highest level of arsenic accumulation is usually in roots and tubers, such as carrots and potatoes.
Studies have shown close associations between both inhaled and ingested arsenic and cancer rates. Cancers of the skin, liver, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract are well documented in regards to arsenic exposure. Arsenic uptake/concentration increased interacts with lead to diminish cognitive function.
Magnesium binds with and helps eliminate heavy metals from the body. With its role in regulating the thousands of biochemical reactions that occur on an ongoing basis, sufficient magnesium is essential to achieving the delicate balance necessary to the body’s function. Protecting this delicate balance should be considered a fundamental goal in achieving optimal health and wellbeing.
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In a new study published in Magnesium Research (Magnes Res. 2011 September 1;24(3):115-21) Italian researchers examined the magnesium status of people with mild-to- moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They found those with low-ionized magnesium levels had the most impaired cognitive function as compared to the control group.