Which Brands & Sources of Rice Have the Least Arsenic?

Which Brands & Sources of Rice Have the Least Arsenic?
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Arsenic levels were tested in 5800 rice samples from 25 countries.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The arsenic found in five servings of rice a week poses a hundred times the acceptable cancer risk. What does the rice industry have to say about that? When the story first broke that U.S. rice had some of the highest arsenic levels in the world, and all the headlines started, the USA Rice Federation said, “Enough Nonsense about Arsenic Already!” The study, in their minds, was “not only inaccurate in the highest degree, but also maliciously untrue.” To which one of the researchers replied, look, you’re the one who’s been ignoring the arsenic problem for decades. Had the problem of planting rice in arsenic pesticide-soaked former cotton fields been addressed, then safe soil could have been identified, low-arsenic rice varieties developed—instead of just developing arsenic-resistant varieties, so the plants can build up excessive levels of arsenic without dying themselves.

Not all rice producers have been so head-in-the-sand dismissive, though. After a subsequent Consumer Reports exposé, one rice company detailed how it was taking matters into its own hands. Lundberg Farms started testing hundreds of samples of its rice to share the results with the FDA. “We’re committed to providing safe food,” said the CEO, “and dealing with this problem very openly.” They’re not just sharing their results with the FDA, but with everyone.

If you go to their website, you can see they apparently followed through on their testing promise. This is for their brown rice. Now, they use parts per million to make it look better than it is, but compared to the average U.S. brown rice level of 154, Lundberg does do better. In fact, their aromatic brown rice, presumably their brown basmati and brown jasmine, average less than national white rice levels. And so, apparently, does their red and black rice. In fact, none of those samples even reached the average U.S. brown rice level.

Most other brands were pretty comparable—Uncle Ben’s, for example, and Walmart, though Whole Foods scored the worst—about a third higher than these others, and exceeding the national average.

In the largest review to date, based on 5,800 rice samples from 25 countries, the highest total arsenic average came from the United States, with U.S. studies overall averaging about double that of rice out of Asia, with the high levels in the U.S. blamed on the heavy historic use of arsenic-based pesticides. But, not all of the U.S. Yes, U.S. rice averages twice the arsenic of Asian rice. For example, nearly all rice samples tested in upstate New York, imported from India or Pakistan, had arsenic levels lower than 95% of domestically-produced rice. But look at the range here. U.S.-produced rice went from here, all the way up to here. Rice grown in the U.S. showed the widest overall range, and the largest number of outliers, primarily due to where it was grown.

There’s significantly more arsenic in rice from Texas and Arkansas than rice from California. If you just look at California rice, then it’s actually comparable to rice produced around the rest of the world. This is presumably some of the data that led Consumer Reports to suggest brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan might be among the safer rice choices.

If the arsenic is from pesticides, would organic rice have less than conventionally-grown rice? No, which makes sense, because arsenic pesticides were banned like 30 years ago. It’s just that 30,000 tons of arsenic chemicals already got dumped onto cotton fields in the southern states. So, it’s understandable why there’s still lingering arsenic residues, even if you don’t add an ounce of any new pesticides. That’s why they specifically select for arsenic-resistant varieties of rice plants in the South. If only there were arsenic-resistant humans.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Marco Galtarossa from The Noun Project

Image credit: Fiuodalsoar via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The arsenic found in five servings of rice a week poses a hundred times the acceptable cancer risk. What does the rice industry have to say about that? When the story first broke that U.S. rice had some of the highest arsenic levels in the world, and all the headlines started, the USA Rice Federation said, “Enough Nonsense about Arsenic Already!” The study, in their minds, was “not only inaccurate in the highest degree, but also maliciously untrue.” To which one of the researchers replied, look, you’re the one who’s been ignoring the arsenic problem for decades. Had the problem of planting rice in arsenic pesticide-soaked former cotton fields been addressed, then safe soil could have been identified, low-arsenic rice varieties developed—instead of just developing arsenic-resistant varieties, so the plants can build up excessive levels of arsenic without dying themselves.

Not all rice producers have been so head-in-the-sand dismissive, though. After a subsequent Consumer Reports exposé, one rice company detailed how it was taking matters into its own hands. Lundberg Farms started testing hundreds of samples of its rice to share the results with the FDA. “We’re committed to providing safe food,” said the CEO, “and dealing with this problem very openly.” They’re not just sharing their results with the FDA, but with everyone.

If you go to their website, you can see they apparently followed through on their testing promise. This is for their brown rice. Now, they use parts per million to make it look better than it is, but compared to the average U.S. brown rice level of 154, Lundberg does do better. In fact, their aromatic brown rice, presumably their brown basmati and brown jasmine, average less than national white rice levels. And so, apparently, does their red and black rice. In fact, none of those samples even reached the average U.S. brown rice level.

Most other brands were pretty comparable—Uncle Ben’s, for example, and Walmart, though Whole Foods scored the worst—about a third higher than these others, and exceeding the national average.

In the largest review to date, based on 5,800 rice samples from 25 countries, the highest total arsenic average came from the United States, with U.S. studies overall averaging about double that of rice out of Asia, with the high levels in the U.S. blamed on the heavy historic use of arsenic-based pesticides. But, not all of the U.S. Yes, U.S. rice averages twice the arsenic of Asian rice. For example, nearly all rice samples tested in upstate New York, imported from India or Pakistan, had arsenic levels lower than 95% of domestically-produced rice. But look at the range here. U.S.-produced rice went from here, all the way up to here. Rice grown in the U.S. showed the widest overall range, and the largest number of outliers, primarily due to where it was grown.

There’s significantly more arsenic in rice from Texas and Arkansas than rice from California. If you just look at California rice, then it’s actually comparable to rice produced around the rest of the world. This is presumably some of the data that led Consumer Reports to suggest brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan might be among the safer rice choices.

If the arsenic is from pesticides, would organic rice have less than conventionally-grown rice? No, which makes sense, because arsenic pesticides were banned like 30 years ago. It’s just that 30,000 tons of arsenic chemicals already got dumped onto cotton fields in the southern states. So, it’s understandable why there’s still lingering arsenic residues, even if you don’t add an ounce of any new pesticides. That’s why they specifically select for arsenic-resistant varieties of rice plants in the South. If only there were arsenic-resistant humans.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Marco Galtarossa from The Noun Project

Image credit: Fiuodalsoar via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

What about other brands of brown versus white? That was the subject of my last video, Which Rice Has Less Arsenic: Black, Brown, Red, White, or Wild? For more background, see:

Stay tuned for:

Kudos to Consumers Union, the wonderful organization that publishes Consumer Reports, for their pioneering work on this and so many other topics.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

123 responses to “Which Brands & Sources of Rice Have the Least Arsenic?

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  1. For anyone who buys organic black rice from bulk barn (in Canada), the rice is from China and “this rice is not tested specifically for arsenic” as per customer support at Bulk Barn. Buyer beware.




    16
    1. I used to buy 8 kilogram bags of NuPak long grain brown rice here in Toronto. I phoned them a year or so ago and asked where they sourced their brown rice, and they very honestly told me Arkansas. I immediately switched to a medium-grained brand grown in California, though NuPak / Shah Trading still has a lot of good stuff that I continue to buy.




      8
    2. But if you’re going to take chances, remember: “the highest total arsenic average came from the United States, with U.S. studies overall averaging about double that of rice out of Asia, with the high levels in the U.S. blamed on the heavy historic use of arsenic-based pesticides.”
      .




      7
      1. Be careful of some Central Am and Asian rice? Arsenic isn’t the only issue?

        http://modernfarmer.com/2017/07/the-killing-fields/

        In Sri Lanka’s North Central province, a land of crumbling Buddhist temples and gently swaying palms, farmers have cultivated rice for millennia. Until the 1960s, they relied on oxen, not tractors, to plow their fields. But the introduction of mechanized and chemical methods has rendered such time honored techniques extinct. An island nation that once boasted nearly 3,000 ancient rice varieties now produces a handful of modern strains in fields routinely drenched with herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.

        As a result, Sri Lankan rice yields have increased by 60 percent since 1979. Unfortunately, a burgeoning public health disaster has arisen alongside this “progress.” Today, a mysterious kidney disease afflicts an estimated 400,000 people in the province, representing about a third of its population.

        First-world renal disorders typically accompany obesity, diabetes, or high blood pressure, all rare risk factors in rural Southeast Asia. Baffled epidemiologists refer to the illness ravaging Sri Lanka as “chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology,” or CKDu, which results in a slow, torturous death. Sufferers are unable to pass urine, so their limbs swell with toxic fluid, causing constant pain.

        And Sri Lanka is far from the only place affected: CKDu has been identified in the agriculture-dependent tropical areas of at least 10 other countries. New York City photojournalist Ed Kashi, who captured the images on these pages, began chronicling the epidemic four years ago, in Nicaragua and El Salvador, then India, before traveling to Sri Lanka last summer. “I met guys in their twenties who could barely get out of bed for me to take a portrait,” he reports. “There was one Sri Lankan family in which both the father and the son were sick. Neither could work, and the women were forced to abandon their dreams of getting an education in order to become the breadwinners.”




        3
        1. Thank you for sending that article which was disturbing. I wish there had been references cited and it will be helpful if the researcher cited can publish showing the suspected link between the pesticides and CKDs although there is no doubt that increased kidney problems are widespread in the area discussed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19751894can publish You are certainly correct when you say that Arsenic isn’t the only concern with rice and its cultivation.




          0
        1. Arsenic can be present in surface waters, soils, and well waters naturally.

          The high amounts found in rice seem to be from decades of use of arsenic based insecticides (used growing cotton). The arsenic is still in the soil and is taken up by rice plants.

          Some of these arsenic based insecticides are still in use in poorer less regulated parts of the world.




          1
  2. Whole Foods supermarket uses conventional rice, both brown and white, in all of their salad bars.
    Hopefully this will change them.




    7
    1. I buy Organic Brown Rice grown in Australia, from Coles and haven’t worried about how much arsenic it may contain. Just make the healthiest plant based choices you can for your health and well being. Or it will do your head in.




      8
    2. Hi Jef,

      I have found this article comparing arsenic levels in Australian and basmati rice:
      “The Basmati White rice variety, produced in India, contained low concentrations of As (32 ± 3 μg/kg), whereas the Australian Long White variety contained 189 ± 11 μg As/kg.”
      So it looks like Australian grown rice might have more arsenic, possibly because of the cultivar used.
      Here is also a simple consumer report on recommended types of rice.




      2
    3. I contacted Sunrice in Aus and they sent me an email that said:

      All rice, including brown and organic rice varieties used in SunRice products, as well as those used as an ingredient in pre-prepared meals and baby food, adhere to strict safety and quality standards and comply in full with the required limits for arsenic specified in all Australian food industry regulations.

      Our regular and extensive testing shows Australian rice to be well within all relevant Australian and international health and safety standards, including those for arsenic.

      If you would like to find out more about arsenic in food and beverages, please visit the Food Standards Australia New Zealand website at: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/consumer/chemicals/arsenic.

      Alternatively, you can call Food Standards Australia New Zealand on 02 6271 2222 or email them a question at info@foodstandards.gov.au 
       
      We trust you will continue to use and enjoy our quality SunRice products with every confidence.

      Think I’m going to finish the bag I’ve already bought last month, and then switch to whole wheat berries, or buckwheat.




      0
  3. If only there were arsenic-resistant humans.”

    Dr G, you crack me up….
    Ok Lundberg brown basmati rice it is… I’ll alternate with my quinoa…
    mitch




    18
  4. Did you know that leafy greens grown in contaminated soil can have higher amounts of arsenic than rice? I’m so paranoid about what is safe to eat now. What am I supposed to do? It seems that no matter what I eat its going to kill me. So depressed right now.




    38
    1. Ironic that we INCREASED our intake of brown rice after reading “How Not to Die” (published in Dec 2015), and are now told of the dangers (by the primary author) of doing so based on studies that have been out since 2005! Or is the danger that bad Dr Gregor (noting you are stringing us a long for over two weeks before giving us the bottom line, unless we give a donation!)? We are starting to become concerned over “Big White Coat”!




      18
      1. In “How Not to Die” Dr. Greger does encourage us to eat a wide variety of whole grains. This will greatly reduce arsenic intake (rice) and increase nutrient intake (variety of grains with various nutrient profiles). The following quote is from Consumer Reports (How Much Arsenic is in Your Rice?): “The gluten-free grains amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and polenta or grits had negligible levels of inorganic arsenic. Bulgur, barley, and farro, which contain gluten, also have very little arsenic. Quinoa (also gluten-free), had average inorganic arsenic levels comparable to those of other alternative grains. But some samples had quite a bit more. Though they were still much lower than any of the rices, those spikes illustrate the importance of varying the types of grains you eat.” https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm




        9
        1. I am confused. As a vegan who uses Rice often am I to understand that I am better off no longer eating rice now. That is what I am hearing. I listen and read so often because there is so much information but is everything I am eating considered to be harmful when looked at so closely. I know this is a rhetorical question . I do not really have time to constantly be in front of a computer I am tring to grow all my greens and love the process of doing that. I am getting overwhelmed actually and feel lke i try so very hard to be healthy and all the info sometimes seems to say i cannot possibly do any better than I am because all is certainly not well.




          12
          1. Nancy: re: “As a vegan who uses Rice often am I to understand that I am better off no longer eating rice now. That is what I am hearing.” I came away with a different take-away. Here’s how I understand the series of videos on rice:

            Arsenic is a real health concern. So, it’s worth investigating arsenic levels in food. When Dr. Greger did the investigating, he found out that relatively high levels of arsenic can be found in rice which is grown in contaminated soil. Happily, we have a way to purchase rice that we can reasonably expect to be grown with low contamination: ie, rice grown in California or Asian countries. So, if we have concerns about arsenic, we can still continue to enjoy rice. We just need to be a bit choosy about which rice we buy.

            Stepping back a bit, Dr. Greger generally recommends that we eat a variety of foods. While many people from Asian countries eat low arsenic rice every day (without health effects? I’m not clear on that) and we could theoretically copy that eating pattern, why not enjoy rice sometimes and other times enjoy the wide variety of other intact grains available to us? Have you tried: quinoa, millet, barley (a personal favorite), amaranth, teff, farro, spelt berries, groats, etc? If you ate a variety of grains, you would vary your exposure to risks as well as reap the benefits highlighted in the various foods.

            If you can get a hold of an electric pressure cooker (say an Instant Pot), you would be able to make all these grains in a breeze! It’s so fun to experiment with new grains. See if you can find a store with a bulk bin section. Then you can try a little bit of various types of grains to see what you like best.

            That’s what I’ve gotten from this series and my understanding of Dr. Greger’s work (and a bit thrown in from my own experience regarding preparation). Make sense to you too? Feel less overwhelming?




            37
          2. Hi Nancy,
            I so agree with you. It is extremely disheartening, to say the least. As a 15 year vegan, brown rice has been a staple! Ouch! Although I initially “went vegan” for ethical reasons, I was always mindful of healthy eating. I though veganism was a win win win – for the planet, for the animals, and for one’s health. Although I will not give up veganism – this can be discouraging and confusing. I don’t tolerate gluten well, and had been consuming about a cup or two of brown rice – daily! Should I get tested for potentially high arsenic levels??




            5
      2. Geez, talk about calling the kettle black! Apparently you have never acquired new information about something you weren’t previously aware of? Nothing is static and knowledge doesn’t magically fall into your lap, you have to seek it out …and he did. What is YOUR excuse?




        13
    2. Dude, calm down. You’ll probably live longer if you don’t stress out and just eat food. We can only do what we can do- life is meant for living, not for just trying to stay alive…..




      27
        1. Jerry Lewis, Do you really think anybody reading this forum actually believes you with your message of heart-unhealthy eating of meat and fat? The science says otherwise. Nobody has reversed heart disease without cutting out both animal protein and fat, but many have by have by stopping eating those things along with processed oils, excess sugar and salt, and eating lots of veggies, whole grains and other starches, fruits, berries, and mushrooms. Ornish and Esselstyn have published on the subject, so have McDougall, Barnard, Campbell, Greger, Fuhrman and others. If you don’t like their message, why are you hanging around here? Apparently not to learn anything.




          33
          1. Take a look at the countries around the world. There are billions of people who can prove it to you the other way. Before veganism was born, there are already billions of people who ate meat and fat (and plant foods at the same time) for thousand of years and lived very healthy and long, including the Okinawans that the West fantasized about their diet. It is when processed food was born along with the false theory about saturated fat that made people consuming sugar and vegetable oil instead, that is when we have an epidemic of diseases around the world. And including when the statin drug was created to “lower cholesterol”.




            1
        2. Why do you insist on posting your inane dead animal comments here, are you that desperate for attention? We need a block feature here.




          28
      1. I agree with Dr. Greger, Why eat food that are proven to make us sick. when we can make a choice that’s better for both the environment and lower the pain that should appear when animals just are born to be food. It’s a true hollocoust every day, year around for all animals in the food industry..




        16
    3. We will all be dead in a hundred years or so, we are born to die, so stop worrying and just live and enjoy!!!!! :) Live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow.




      4
      1. It’s possible to have a good life and enjoy without eating animals and leave a lot of waste behind us. If more people use their mind and feelings to make better choices we can all live a better life on earth. The generations after us as well.
        For a year ago i did not think
        i could live without meat, cream, milk and cheese. Now i eat whole food plant based with only a few exceptions a year. It is good taste with meat and cheese. But when i think about how the industry works, i try to avoid. I don’t feel it’s a sacrifice. I’m feeling better as well.




        23
    4. Actually, no matter what you eat you will die.

      Notice that the organic stuff is not pristine, it just has less.

      The bones of any human can be dated by their lead content going back about 8000 years.




      2
    5. Grow your own greens, if you are able. I do…it’s easy and you do not need much space. Even if you live in an apartment you can grow micro greens, and hydroponic greens.




      10
      1. How long and how much can you eat growing your stuff? We are 4 and eat a lot. Growing your own means when is ready you need to stuff yourself with it before it rottens. So 1 month if you are lucky of the same produce and many months without. How much land someone needs to grow a variaty of vegetables that can make 4 people survive for a year? My grandfather had a lot of land and growing his stuff and still he bought most of his produce from someone else during the year.




        2
        1. People need a little experience growing their own food. Trust me…it isn’t easy. Basically it is subsistance farming….you would spend most of your time doing it…not to mention storing stuff for winter.




          4
          1. Its not easy, but probably not as hard as one might imagine. You do need some land, though again, perhaps not as much as one might think necessary.

            A good book on the topic is ‘One Straw Revolution’ by Masanobu Fukuoka.

            That said, I think the answer for most people is to just try your best – eat a variety of whole foods and keep apprised of warnings put out by reputable organizations.




            1
    6. I’ll be continuing with a plant based diet because it is by far the most healthy way to eat irregardless of any toxins that might be present. A plant based diet is the only diet proven to reverse or prevent heart disease, which is what I have, I had a heart attack 4 years ago at the age of 40. So there is no going back to my old unhealthy ways of eating. Dr. Greger you are very much needed and appreciated – thanks for all the work that you do!




      26
      1. Wise choice. Getting stressed out about some of these more minor issues could easily be far worse for one’s health than simply ignoring them. Just eat a well-balanced variety of whole plant foods, exercise appropriately, and try not to get stressed out. I never heard of a better formula for maintaining health or even reversing some chronic diseases.




        9
    7. Hi McDuncan,

      Thea has posted a really great answer about perspectives on healthy eating, it’s a few comments below this one. I recommend checking it out and that ti gives you more hope that a plant based diet can be the simplest and healthiest :)




      0
        1. Hey Mathew, great question. I looked on the National Library of Medicine as well as doing a GOOGLE search, and I can’t find the same comprehensive analyses of heavy metals in quinoa that Dr. Greger found for rices. Until we have such data, I would encourage moderation, choosing different kinds of grains and alternating your intake, and lots of vegetables and fruits to help ramp up your detox pathways. Remember that biomagnification (accumulation of heavy metals and other toxins in animal foods) is more of a problem than consuming the smaller amounts we get from grains ourselves. Thanks!




          0
    1. If you scroll down the same page, you will see the comment stating Dr Greger used “California rice” as an exaple of USA rice, which has the lowest arsenic level in all rice grown in the US. So, at the time of previous video, it made sense to conclude US(California) rice has less arsenic than SOME Asian rice, which still holds the truth.

      It’s not adequate to say that US rice is better/worse than Asian rice. There are many regions in both areas and the level of toxin varies a ton.
      We have to pay attention to what region, what state in US, they are grown. Better yet WHO grows them. Know the farmer, his/her practices. Know where your food comes from. That’s where it boils down to.

      Toxins Toxins says:
      October 17th, 2011 at 11:05 am

      Hello Adam,

      I want to add on to my previous statement because it was misleading. White rice, it appears, had more arsenic in most cases than brown rice based on where it was shipped from.

      “Total arsenic levels in the 107 south central rice samples averaged 0.30 μg/g, compared to an average of 0.17 μg/g in the 27 California samples. A white rice sample from Louisiana ranked highest in total arsenic (0.66 μg/g), and an organic brown rice from California ranked lowest (0.10 μg/g). Organic growing conditions, however, do not guarantee low arsenic levels, since any rice growing in arsenic-laden soil soaks up arsenic, says Meharg…a daily limit at 10 μg/L from drinking water”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892142/

      We should not be concerned too much about brown rice it appears unless we eat a lot of it, which i tend to do.




      2
    1. Thing about the South is that’s where the billions and billions of chickens are raised by the poultry and egg industries- in those gigantic barns (where the viruses run amok) with automated lights and feeders and water and feces removal…

      And ALL that bird poop must go somewhere. Crop farmers buy that poop by the truckloads and “amend” their soils with it. Even “small time” truck farms near me. Those are the ones supply road-side stands and farmers’ markets. Arsenic CITY! Whoops.




      5
  5. I buy brown basmati from Aldi, which they say is sourced from India. This is mostly what I eat, although I eat a couple of servings per month of white rice that comes from California. One question that comes to my mind is there perhaps a way of chelating arsenic from our bodies?




    10
    1. hi Scott- I have been looking for resources on this question about detoxing for a couple of weeks now. There is a lack of studies on humans but there are animal studies on the toxicity of arsenic, and fewer on de-toxing from arsenic. I posted links under the last few videos. I found some mention of B12, folate and other B vit in general, antioxidants, and selenium used to aid clearance of arsenic (and other metals). So, from what I can see so far, the same daily dozen that Dr Greger recommends is what will keep us in the best shape overall. I myself will probably still enjoy rice, sourced from calif. or india, properly prepared with washing and cooked in lots of water . (water is common source of arsenic.. have your well tested!) http://m.michiganradio.org/post/what-should-we-do-about-arsenic-our-food-experts-say-vary-your-diet-research-ongoing

      I will continue to take B12, and add a brazil nut every other day, and continue to cook lentils (for selenium) regularly. I will take more care to wash greens that I eat raw since most of the arsenic is from soil splashed on open leaves. Other than that, I look forward to further comments and suggestions. https://www.needs.com/product/NDNL-1302-02/a_Detox_Cleansing




      6
    2. Eating your rice with Canadian-sourced lentils may be a good strategy.

      There is some evidence that selenium counteracts the effects of arsenic perhaps partly because it compotes with arsenic for uptake by the body. See eg

      “Selenium and arsenic work antagonistically in the body by competing in many biological functions [11]. In the blood, selenium interacts with arsenic to form a complex which is excreted in the bile [12], thereby lowering the arsenic body burden. Thus, higher selenium intake may be crucial to combat arsenic toxicity. ”
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848822/

      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095528631500159X

      https://vet.ucalgary.ca/files/vet/2013-smits-vandenberg-sah-rat-arsenic-selenium-lentils.pdf




      8
      1. thank you so much Tom ! Always a treat to read your comments, and I appreciate the links ! I’ll be sure to eat lentils more often.




        0
      2. Rice WITH lentils? RIDICULOUS! To have one without the other, I mean. GREAT SUGGESTION TG! THANKS! (I like mine curried)




        0
    3. I buy Aldi’s Thai Jasmine rice. The problem with Aldi’s…is that though they usually have the best prices….they also have a lot of SAD shoppers. Sometimes they have organic or other healthier products…but if they aren’t bought enough…they don’t last on the shelves very long.




      1
  6. I buy the brown basmati rice from India at Trader Joe’s. So I will stick with that but I probably will be eating less rice and more quinoa in the future.




    6
  7. We have been soaking our rice for a few hours then tossing the water before cooking. You have mentioned that salt will draw out pesticides, would that also draw out the arsenic? Will plain water draw out some arsenic, too?
    Thanks for the website, no idea if I will live any longer being vegan six days a week, but at least I worry less about self-poisoning.




    10
    1. A lot of rice says on the bag “do not rinse”. Apparently rinsing may remove some nutrients.

      Soaking grain or bean before cooking has the advantages of sprouting them slightly and remove the anti nutrients. It also makes cooking faster.




      4
      1. “Do not rinse” is because after polishing all the vitamins away, they spray the rice with man-made vitamins like folic acid. You wash it, those vitamins are washed away.




        1
    2. Hi Paul,

      Jerry and Pat are correct in that pre-washing rice can remove nutrients, as demonstrated in this study: http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30500503/5.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1501700987&Signature=GiAhZM%2FYE5VAxUkaAbqaX6U7Pdc%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DEffect_of_Processing_on_Nutritional_Valu.pdf
      However, this study showed pre-washing then cooking in 6:1 water to rice and removing excess water reduced the arsenic levels by nearly 60%! So it is a bit of a pickle in balancing nutrient content with arsenic levels.
      If you are eating a well balanced diet with lots and fruit and veg, then you are likely getting your nutrient requirement elsewhere than rice alone, so I would suggest prepping your rice as in the method above might be a better idea.

      Hope this helps!




      0
  8. Asians comprise 60% of the global population at about 4.3Billion people…. and they consume a sh!t load of rice (and that’s not counting India). I yet to see a global epidemic of arsenic poisoning… other than isolated incidents in ground water direct contamination. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3191694/

    I plan on buying rice at local Asian markets that’s been imported and call it a day and now worry about it. The risks of disease from SAD far outweigh this according to the data I see out there now. YES there is concern , but I am not losing sleep.




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      1. Are you saying that RICE causes stomach cancer? If so, what proof do you have? Maybe stomach cancer in Asian countries is caused by something else such as a virus, bacteria, pollution, or a million other things. Why just pick out only stomach cancer? If arsenic in Asian rice causes cancer, it seems that it would cause a rise in ALL cancers.




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      2. Stomach cancer can be caused by smoking and H pylori among other things, not necessarily by arsenic. Look at the Asian and South Asian population in the U.S., they continue to eat rice and has no cancer except when they start to eat the SAD diet.




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        1. Gee, Jerry Lewis, you really do just make stuff up and then present it as as incontrovertible facts. This is another classic example ….. ” Look at the Asian and South Asian population in the U.S., they continue to eat rice and has no cancer except when they start to eat the SAD diet.”

          This is nonsense. Of course Asians in the US get cancer. For example,

          “The Asian population of the United States (US) is growing rapidly and over 17 million Americans are of Asian descent. A majority of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Americans are immigrants. Americans of East and Southeast Asian descent experience marked gastric “cancer disparities and the incidence rate among Korean men in the US is over five times higher than the incidence rate among non-Hispanic white men.”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25605140

          Details are here
          https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10552-007-9088-3

          Why on Earth do you make all these wild statements? It’s a huge giveaway that you never present any evidence to support your claims. This is in marked contrast to Dr Greger who is meticulous in documenting the evidence underpinning the statements he makes.




          11
    1. I read that there is a difference in absorption between organic arsenic and chemical arsenic. So yes, arsenic started out from humans who dumped it into the ground but overtime, I think it becomes kind of “organic” and is less absorbed into the body (I don’t want to say totally harmless). In the lab, they tested arsenic on rats. Sure they feed loads of arsenic chemical to the rats and the rats get cancer. But in real life, we get arsenic through foods, either plant based or animal based but we don’t drink arsenic directly. And so perhaps where the big difference lies. Otherwise we would have seen an epidemic of cancer cases around the world in countries that consume rice in large quantity on a regular basis.

      Just like you said, it’s the SAD diet that kills Americans and now the rest of the world. By SAD, I mean processed foods + sugar + oxygenated fats (such as heavily processed vegetable fats). But SAD is not whole and real foods such as animal or plant foods, or real fat even saturated… Then we get the false cholesterol scare and countless of people take statin drug which even creates more damages. And anti inflammatory drug (NSAID) that causes … more inflammation. Then we went in circles and try to avoid all kind of foods.

      We probably worry too much for the arsenic in rice.




      4
      1. Jerry lewis
        Just curious but you said you read that there is a difference between organic and chemical arsenic . What was it that you read and why did you believe what you read when you never believe any evidence on nutrition facts about animal products?




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    2. According to T. Colin Campbell in “The China Study” rural Chinese who eat a traditional diet, centered on rice, with very few animal products, have much lower rates of cancer, cardio, diabetes, and other diseases. When they switch to a SAD diet, the disease rates increase to those of westerners. So rural Chinese eat rice three meals a day and are much healthier than those eating the SAD diet. Yet they must be getting a lot of arsenic. Doesn’t seem to make sense.




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  9. I think I must be a lazy Millennial – I find it so hard to get a takeaway! So we should just try to eat Brown basmati from Cali, Pakistan and India?




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  10. Dear Dr. Greger,

    I’m sending this email concerning the message you’ve sent for a job opportunity in nutrition research and writing for the website. I’m a nutritional sciences student (B.S) at the University of Balamand in Lebanon. I’ve read the job offer and I’m really interested in what the job requires from researching, proofreading, and reviewing scientific articles. However, and unfortunately I don’t meet the requirements since I’m only a second year student. Despite that, I’m always up to date with the videos and transcripts posted, and I wish you would give me permission to try and join the team just for gaining information and experience in the field, such as just giving me access to review a few articles that meet my level of knowledge in nutrition, this way I would be learning something new and helping out. If there anything you could do to give me some kind of experience in this remote job, just on a lower level, please let me know.

    Thank you.




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    1. LOL why post this here among hundreds of other comments and for everyone to read? I am sure there is a different more direct/discret channel to contact him? Come on it is common sense….




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      1. Um no there is not, there’s no email specific for these things, they say to post anything under the videos, so you might as well mind your own business LOL.




        2
      2. Um no there is not, there’s no email specific for these things, they say to post anything under the videos, so you might as well mind your own business LOL.




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  11. I am grateful for the information provided in this series on rice and arsenic. But I find there is too much repetition and think the whole thing could be condensed a lot. I’m not here for entertainment, which this series seems to aiming for, but just want the facts in as few words as possible….like the old videos.




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  12. Fortuantely, we are eating only Lundberg short grain brown rice which we bought more than 40 bags (12 pounds) when Costco was selling last year. Unfortunately, Costco carries once in a while this brand that is why we have to buy whenever we find in the store and it lasts for 18 months. When I called Lundberg, they said only 12-pound bags are from California and others can be different places also.

    We also reduced to eat rice one time a day from last few months and eating wheat tortillas for the dinner. Hoping for some rice cookers to be made in the future which can cook in a way that reduces arsenic.

    Without brown, I am not sure if we get anything from white rice other than calories.




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    1. @crzaycat:

      >>>When I called Lundberg, they said only 12-pound bags are from California and others can be different places also.

      did they say from where? I assume not from southeast US or their test results would have been higher. Or they’re only testing some of their geographic sources, biasing their results. I eat Lundberg rice but now I am wondering how up front they really are.




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    2. @crzaycat:
      fyi – What you said they said is inconsistent with what is on their website:
      http://www.lundberg.com/info/arsenic-in-food/product-faq/

      “WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR RICE?
      Lundberg Family Farms is proud of our strong grower network that supplements the rice we grow ourselves. We regularly review our carefully selected growers, handlers and processors to ensure that food safety regulations and agricultural standards are consistently met. The vast majority of rice used in our products comes from California. ***All of the rice in our 1 pound, 2 pound, 4 pound and 12 pound bags comes from California.*** Our wild rice is sourced from California, Minnesota and Canada. We also source rice from our growers and processors in the Southern United States. We do this when we have challenging growing conditions that reduce yields in the field, when our planting is limited by environmental conditions, such as the California drought, or when demand grows substantially faster than we anticipate. When rice is sourced from the Southern United States, it typically is in 25 pound bags, and labeled as “American”, rather than “California”, such as “American Long Grain”, rather than “California Long Grain”.”




      2
      1. .. and note the last line of the quote:

        ” When rice is sourced from the Southern United States, it typically is in 25 pound bags, and labeled as “American”, rather than “California”, such as “American Long Grain”, rather than “California Long Grain”.”




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  13. Can cooking rice in large amounts of water and then spilling out the water lessen significantly the amount of arsenic left in the rice grains?




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    1. Hi Gil: We have a video coming out tomorrow (7/31) that will discuss how to cook rice to lower arsenic levels. Stay tuned!




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  14. Hi Gil Zicklin,
    Thanks for your question. I am one of the volunteer moderators at the website. I recommend this kind of cooking rice as it does washes the arsenic however it washes of the B vitamins which are also water-soluble. Dr Greger discusses different types in his videos that has low content. Also in the other link below explains about different processing of rice and how it can effect the arsenic content. The arsenic concentration in cooked rice depends on the cooking methods, parboiled rice (PBR) seems to be relatively prone to arsenic contamination compared to that of untreated rice, if contaminated water is used for parboiling and cooking. I hope this is useful to you.

    Which Brands & Sources of Rice Have the Least Arsenic?
    Processing Conditions, Rice Properties, Health and Environment




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    1. Audrey: What about buying brands either grown in California or from Asian countries? That way you increase your chances of buying the rice with the lowest arsenic levels. That’s what I got as the take-away. What do you think?




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  15. I am sympathizing with some of the people who have commented, and I think it is sobering to recognize that we have truly contaminated the whole planet, and you cannot live anywhere that has not had its share of long lived pollution. You can only do so much, but by educating yourself through Dr. Greger’s work, you can give yourself the best shot possible at living a healthy, long life. Over and over in these videos, studies have shown that a vegan, whole-foods diet gives our bodies the right balance of nutrients needed to function optimally–and that means helping to reduce the effect of pollutants, even arsenic. Lots of things cause cancer, not just arsenic. Our environment is awash in them! So the best thing you can do is to follow the whole foods plant based lifestyle while minimizing the exposures wherever you have the option to do so. The second best thing you can do is to support elected representatives in our government that will stand up to business and polluters, and keep our EPA strong and effective. Right now, it is so understaffed and underfunded, we are all at risk.




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  16. Re: Opening remarks – What does “100 times acceptable cancer risk” translate into in terms of extra cancers per 100,000 or % increase in odds of getting cancer for an individual? Do the health benefits of brown rice outweigh the cancer risk?




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  17. I’ve never purchased black rice (difficult to find in the first place) with COI information that I could read on the label. Did find the name of the company packaging it up, but that doesn’t tell me where it was grown. Nor does the company website listing their products have any information as to the origins.

    But I’m pretty sure it is SE Asia. So it’s another crap-shoot. I’m going to eat the rice. The good news is that I’ve seen reports where China stopped some contaminated rice shipments, so THEY are at least aware of the problem (despite a history of selling us toxic products).




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  18. Just learned of another fellow who gets it but is no nutritionist. He is a journalist and author who understands that we have a huge problem with human health that springs from modern agriculture and food factory products. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he has been discussing and lecturing on these problems for some time. I also find it reassuring that some folks who are _not_ doctors or researchers are aware of the magnitude of the issue with hopes that they may have better access to some audiences and aspects of crafting the solutions that we must face.

    He recognizes that human nutritional science is in its infancy-which we all generally recognize as having been retarded for many years by conflicts with commercial interests. He also recognizes that modern food production methods are simply unsustainable.

    So look up Michael Pollan if you care to, you may find him interesting and informative. I hope to use his information and approach to help more of my friends and family question their own nutritional habits and false notions with regards to the fodder shoveled our way each day.

    I won’t link any of his videos as I’ve not seen enough of them to know which ones are best or latest, and they are aplenty. He appeared on broadcast television a couple of days ago and a friend (of the SAD type) mentioned that appearance to me (as I have no “TV” per se). What really strikes me is that my friend possibly learned a good bit about how to be healthier–from a journalist! Let’s hope he does.

    Morning Y’all.




    2
    1. Hi Skip: As you can imagine, we’re received many comments on this topic! Please stay tuned for more recommendations from Dr. G – we have about 2 more weeks of content lined up about rice…
      How to Cook Rice to Lower Arsenic Levels (7/31)
      Arsenic in Infant Rice Cereal (8/02)
      Arsenic in Rice Milk, Rice Krispies, & Brown Rice Syrup (8/04)
      How Risky is the Arsenic in Rice? (8/07)
      How Much Arsenic in Rice is Too Much? (8/09)
      Is White Rice a Yellow-Light or Red-Light Food? (8/11)
      Do the Pros of Brown Rice Outweigh the Cons of Arsenic? (8/14)




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  19. Did the report analysing inorganic Arsenic levels in rice from other countries include Australia? Are you able to comment on the Arsenic levels in Australian rice?




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  20. Does anyone know if Trader Joe’s Organic Sprouted California Rice is sourced from Lundberg? It’s a mix of 3 types of rice and my favorite.




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  21. I’ve been using a brown rice protein supplement from Jarrow for years now. I found out the brown rice souce is “China (Himalaya).” Not sure what to make of that as I’ve read rice grown in China has a bad track record but Himalayan rice has a relatively good one. In any event, what was more interesting, is that a company rep told me that not only would I receive “more arsenic from a serving of whole brown rice than from brown rice protein” but that “protein is isolated from other components (carb, fat (fat in brown rice?)) that contain arsenic.” So my takeaway (assuming the company rep is not blowing smoke) is that the protein in brown rice doesn’t contain or contains much less arsenic than the carb content. I’d love to know if this is true as I generally only use brown rice protein.




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  22. Any idea on how much arsenic is in black/purple rice made in China? I usually get the Lotus Foods brand “Forbidden Rice”. I’m very wary of buying any food products from China, even if labelled organic, but I can’t find this rice made anywhere else.




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  23. Hi Sidney,

    I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question.

    I found some explanations about arsenic content on their website. They were not very clear about the levels of arsenic found in their product, but they did say that testing shows their levels are among the lowest. However, we don’t know the validity to their results. Below is the link if you want more information about it:

    http://www.lotusfoods.com/index.php/connect/faq/what-should-i-know-about-arsenic-and-food/




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  24. Following up after watching some of these videos, I looked up a few articles, including the one from Consumer Reports which stated, “all types of rice, excluding quick cooking and sushi, from Texas, Arkansas, or Louisiana had higher levels of the substance than rice from any other part of the United States.”

    I have been using quick-cooking rices almost exclusively for several years, so I’m particularly interested in knowing more about how those differ from other rices, and maybe why. Does the parboiling process reduce the arsenic levels? If so, how much?

    Similarly, others might be interested to know why sushi rice was noted, if it is a significantly safer food, and how much.




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  25. We should consider the work of the Hygienists and Dr. Herbert Shelton’s remark that although we eat whole grains, it is the most difficult food for human digestive system.
    The idea is that not all the food on the planet was made for man. Some of it is for birds and other species.
    Look at the diet of Loren Lockman from Tanglewood Costa Rica retreat. He eats only fruit and tender leafies.
    One can surely strive on that in Costa Rica, that’s for sure, but what about colder places…
    So, my point is that no matter what studies find, not all from the God’s garden is for human consumption, at least not without some evil.
    But, as far as the fruit is concerned, we can find it in the Bible, and that in the FIRST chapter of the FIRST book of Moses. Let’s look at what God says to the Man he created (Genesis 1; 29, 30): “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.
    And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.




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  26. Re: Pakistani rice
    Dr. Gregor may be interested in a news clip I saw today 8/24/2017:
    A new study suggests and 50 million people in Pakistan!s Indus valley are at risk of arsenic poisoning from tainted groundwater. A Pakistani government research official acknowledged that arsenic levels were rising blaming the brutal exploitation of underground aquifers.” Now guess where the rice is grown: yep, Indus Valley. I don’t know about Pakistani rice but it does make me wonder.
    Folks, please don’t let Trump/Pence do more to disassemble our EPA. It’s darned apparent what happens when a country doesn’t have strong environmental regulations and enforcement!




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  27. Is there any way to test rice for arsenic?
    I found some rice that claims to be arsenic free because they are below Darthmouth college and Eurofin’s limit of detection. Recent testing by Eurofins in Germany also found white mighty rice® to be below their limit of detection (<1 ppb).
    Is this really possible? I have been eating about one pound of this arsenic free white rice a day and a pound of quinoa to gain weight and its working great!
    However, is it really possible to get arsenic levels this low?

    Here is their explanation from this website http://www.mightyrice.com/?/purity/
    This is likely from the long-term use of pesticides containing arsenic and flood irrigation.
    Because of Mauritius’ environmental quality and the cultivation of our rice on dry land, our white rice was found by Dartmouth College to be below their limit of detection (<2 ppb).

    Is it possible for the island of Mauritius to be free of well's contaminated with arsenic?

    I hope the other grains I eat do not contain much arsenic. I eat about 2 lbs of grains a day because of my crazy metabolism.




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  28. This is a tough one. Keep in mind that the rice plant selectively takes up arsenic from soils, and arsenic is naturally occurring. Of course its worse in soils that are contaminated with extra arsenic. Tracking down the truth behind the arsenic free rice you reference would be a daunting task. You’d likely have to find your own lab to verify the testing and then test multiple batches. I applaud your grain/seed intake, but keep in mind that there are plenty of other grains/seeds that do not have the genetic predisposition of arsenic absorption from soils. Try amaranth, buckwheat, millet, sorghum, chia, and farro.

    Dr. Ben




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