Where Does the Arsenic in Rice, Mushrooms, & Wine Come From?

Where Does the Arsenic in Rice, Mushrooms, & Wine Come From?
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Find out what happens when our crops are grown in soil contaminated with arsenic-based pesticides and arsenic drug-laced chicken manure.

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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.

When arsenic-containing drugs are fed to chickens, not only does it grow out into their feathers (which can then be fed back to them as a slaughterhouse byproduct), the arsenic can get into their tissues, and then get into our tissues, explaining why national studies found that those who eat more poultry have tended to have more arsenic flowing through their bodies. Why would the industry do that? “In modern poultry CAFOs [these concentrated animal feeding operations],” there can be “200,000 birds under one roof.” And so, the floors of these buildings become “covered with feces.” While this so-called factory farming “decreases…costs, [this also] increases the risk of disease…” That’s where arsenic-containing drugs, and other antibiotic feed additives, can come in, to try to cut down the spread of disease in such an unnatural environment—to which you can imagine the smug vegetarians gloating how glad they are they don’t eat chicken. But, what do you think happens to the poop?

The arsenic from the drugs in the feed can get into our crops, into the air, and into the groundwater, and find its way into our bodies, whether we eat meat or not. Yeah, but how much arsenic are we really talking about? Well, we raise billions of chickens every year, and if historically, the vast majority were fed arsenic, then, if you do the math, we’re talking about dumping a half million pounds’ worth of pure arsenic into the environment every year—much of it onto our crops, or shoveled directly into the mouths of other farm animals.

Most of the arsenic in chicken waste is water-soluble; so, there are certainly concerns about it seeping into the groundwater. But if it’s used as a fertilizer, what about our food?

Studies on the levels of arsenic in the U.S. food supply dating back to the 70s identified two foods—fish aside—with the highest levels: chicken and rice, both of which can accumulate arsenic in the same way. Deliver an arsenic–containing drug, like roxarsone, to chickens, and it ends up in their manure, which ends up in the soil, which ends up in our pilaf. “Rice is [now] the primary source of [arsenic] exposure in a nonseafood diet.”

I was surprised to see mushrooms in the top five food sources of arsenic, but then, not so surprised when I found out that “poultry litter [was] commonly used” as a starting material to grow mushrooms in the United States. And, over the years, mushroom arsenic content has rivaled the arsenic concentration in rice, though people tend to eat more rice than mushrooms on a daily basis, and arsenic levels in mushrooms did seem to be dipping, starting about a decade ago, confirmed in this latest 2016 paper that looked at a dozen different types of mushrooms: plain white button mushrooms, cremini, portobello, shiitake, trumpet, oyster, nameko (never heard of it), maitake, alba clamshell, brown clamshell (never heard of either of those either), and chanterelle. Now, only averaging about half what rice is running.

Just like some mushrooms have less arsenic than others, some rice has less. Rice grown in California has 40% less arsenic than rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Why? Well, arsenic-based pesticides had been used more than a century on millions of acres of cotton fields, noted to be “a dangerous practice” back in 1927. Arsenic pesticides are now effectively banned; so, it’s not a matter of buying organic versus conventional rice, because millions of pounds of arsenic had already been laid down in the soil well before your rice was even planted.

The rice industry is well aware of this. There’s an arsenic-toxicity disorder in rice, called “straighthead,” where if you plant rice in soil too heavily contaminated with arsenic, it doesn’t grow right. So, instead of choosing cleaner cropland, they just developed arsenic-resistant strains. So, now, lots of arsenic can build up in rice without the plant getting hurt. Can the same be said, however, for the rice consumer?

Same story with wine. Decade after decade of arsenic pesticide use, and even though they’ve been banned now, arsenic can still be sucked up from the soil, leading to “the pervasive presence of arsenic in [American] wine [which could] “pose a potential health risk.” Curiously, they sum up by saying “[c]hronic arsenic exposure is known to lower IQ in children.” But if kids are drinking that much wine, arsenic toxicity is probably the least of their worries.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Daria Moskvina and Marco Galtarossa from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Lablascovegmenu via Flickr. Image has been modified.

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.

When arsenic-containing drugs are fed to chickens, not only does it grow out into their feathers (which can then be fed back to them as a slaughterhouse byproduct), the arsenic can get into their tissues, and then get into our tissues, explaining why national studies found that those who eat more poultry have tended to have more arsenic flowing through their bodies. Why would the industry do that? “In modern poultry CAFOs [these concentrated animal feeding operations],” there can be “200,000 birds under one roof.” And so, the floors of these buildings become “covered with feces.” While this so-called factory farming “decreases…costs, [this also] increases the risk of disease…” That’s where arsenic-containing drugs, and other antibiotic feed additives, can come in, to try to cut down the spread of disease in such an unnatural environment—to which you can imagine the smug vegetarians gloating how glad they are they don’t eat chicken. But, what do you think happens to the poop?

The arsenic from the drugs in the feed can get into our crops, into the air, and into the groundwater, and find its way into our bodies, whether we eat meat or not. Yeah, but how much arsenic are we really talking about? Well, we raise billions of chickens every year, and if historically, the vast majority were fed arsenic, then, if you do the math, we’re talking about dumping a half million pounds’ worth of pure arsenic into the environment every year—much of it onto our crops, or shoveled directly into the mouths of other farm animals.

Most of the arsenic in chicken waste is water-soluble; so, there are certainly concerns about it seeping into the groundwater. But if it’s used as a fertilizer, what about our food?

Studies on the levels of arsenic in the U.S. food supply dating back to the 70s identified two foods—fish aside—with the highest levels: chicken and rice, both of which can accumulate arsenic in the same way. Deliver an arsenic–containing drug, like roxarsone, to chickens, and it ends up in their manure, which ends up in the soil, which ends up in our pilaf. “Rice is [now] the primary source of [arsenic] exposure in a nonseafood diet.”

I was surprised to see mushrooms in the top five food sources of arsenic, but then, not so surprised when I found out that “poultry litter [was] commonly used” as a starting material to grow mushrooms in the United States. And, over the years, mushroom arsenic content has rivaled the arsenic concentration in rice, though people tend to eat more rice than mushrooms on a daily basis, and arsenic levels in mushrooms did seem to be dipping, starting about a decade ago, confirmed in this latest 2016 paper that looked at a dozen different types of mushrooms: plain white button mushrooms, cremini, portobello, shiitake, trumpet, oyster, nameko (never heard of it), maitake, alba clamshell, brown clamshell (never heard of either of those either), and chanterelle. Now, only averaging about half what rice is running.

Just like some mushrooms have less arsenic than others, some rice has less. Rice grown in California has 40% less arsenic than rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. Why? Well, arsenic-based pesticides had been used more than a century on millions of acres of cotton fields, noted to be “a dangerous practice” back in 1927. Arsenic pesticides are now effectively banned; so, it’s not a matter of buying organic versus conventional rice, because millions of pounds of arsenic had already been laid down in the soil well before your rice was even planted.

The rice industry is well aware of this. There’s an arsenic-toxicity disorder in rice, called “straighthead,” where if you plant rice in soil too heavily contaminated with arsenic, it doesn’t grow right. So, instead of choosing cleaner cropland, they just developed arsenic-resistant strains. So, now, lots of arsenic can build up in rice without the plant getting hurt. Can the same be said, however, for the rice consumer?

Same story with wine. Decade after decade of arsenic pesticide use, and even though they’ve been banned now, arsenic can still be sucked up from the soil, leading to “the pervasive presence of arsenic in [American] wine [which could] “pose a potential health risk.” Curiously, they sum up by saying “[c]hronic arsenic exposure is known to lower IQ in children.” But if kids are drinking that much wine, arsenic toxicity is probably the least of their worries.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Daria Moskvina and Marco Galtarossa from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Lablascovegmenu via Flickr. Image has been modified.

142 responses to “Where Does the Arsenic in Rice, Mushrooms, & Wine Come From?

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  1. If arsenic can be high in wine can it also be high in the grapes we eat from the supermarket? What about the organic grapes
    that are being grown on land that a decade ago was used to grown conventional grapes, land that grew conventional grapes
    for decades? Most organic grape farms in USA were conventional grape farms for many many years, according to my understanding.
    Wouldn’t this soil still be contaminated? But I’m still confused either way why people always mention wine being an issue re: arsenic,
    but make no mention of the grapes we eat.




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    1. Hi Heather,
      I am a volunteer who helps Dr. Greger answer questions posted to Nutritionfacts. I’m a plant based dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. You are right – there is arsenic in grapes. Of course, a difference between grapes and wine is the concentration – so if there is arsenic in grapes, it will be much more highly concentrated in wine. I found this resource from the FDA that discusses arsenic in food. It appears that the FDA is dealing with a highest harm approach and focusing efforts on foods that have the highest concentrations (bye bye, rice!!) and foods that are likely to impact young children/infants (apple juice). Since arsenic is probably in everything grown, it seems a bit crazy making if we try to manage our arsenic exposure in any other way.

      My advice? Eat a wide variety (regularly) of whole plant based foods. I think I’m going to limit my rice intake, which probably won’t hurt my waistline, anyway, and eat more quinoa (which I eat regularly anyway) and perhaps introduce another super grain like amaranth or millet. Bummer about rice….. I don’t drink wine (whew) but eat grapes, just not very often, only in season, and maybe just for a couple of weeks. And I don’t eat bags and bags of them, so I’m not too worried about that. Remember that organic will make little difference over conventional, because arsenic is probably in ALL soil so it doesn’t matter (as far as arsenic is concerned) and won’t affect arsenic levels.

      Again, I think the issue of wine vs. grapes is the highly concentrated source of grapes (wine) versus one grape at a time. Concentrations of arsenic will be more pronounced in the more concentrated source.

      Thanks for being part of our community!

      Lisa Schmidt, MS, CN
      Mindful Benefits
      Plantbaseddocs.com




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      1. I am a little confused Lisa by your statement “limit my rice intake, which probably won’t hurt my waistline”.

        I did not think that carbs make you fat?

        Please explain.

        Thank you.




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        1. Starchy carbs like rice (with slight variation depending what type of rice) convert to sugar in the body. And depending upon your body’s make-up, the amount(s) you eat, how efficiently your body burns calories, etc. it can become a weight issue for some, if not most people.




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          1. Actually, the body quickly stores fat as fat, but it’s very difficult for it to store carbs as fat. It’s another of those myths from the animal protein industry that fat doesn’t make you fat but carbs do. And of course people perpetuating those myths never separate healthy whole food carbs from refined ones which have little nutritional value.




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        2. Hello Normand,

          Thanks for asking! One of the difficulties of communicating in this fashion is that when combined with an attempt at self-depreciating humor it sometimes falls flat!!!

          Allow me to explain for your benefit, and the benefit of the community. I am limiting my rice intake for one reason, because of arsenic content. However, I eat a LOT of rice. Not eating rice will mean that I’ll be eating fewer calories overall. If I eat less rice, I may lose a little weight – but here’s the joke – I don’t really need to. (I know, not funny, but I guess you had to be there…..). I’m going to replace my rice calories (probably) with quinoa, millet, buckwheat and perhaps amaranth, all whole grains, which of course are carbohydrates. I’m not carb cutting, I’m arsenic cutting!!!!!

          Does that make more sense? Thanks for asking for that clarification!!!!

          And, thanks for being part of our community.

          –Lisa, MS, CN
          Volunteer moderator and nutritional dietitian




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              1. Percolators came back into fashion with coffee aficionados about 10 years ago here in Australia. Or at least those little Italian-style ones did.
                I don’t know about the US although coffee snobs in Australia tend to be very sniffy about US coffee. However, I do know that Amazon sells a range of coffee percolators so they are available to you guys (even if you don’t have an antique shop in the neighbourhood).




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              2. Percolators came back into fashion with coffee aficionados about 10 years ago here in Australia. Or at least those little Italian-style ones did.
                I don’t know about North America although coffee snobs in Australia tend to be very sniffy about US coffee. However, I do know that Amazon sells a range of coffee percolators so they are available to you guys (even if you don’t have an antique shop in the neighbourhood).




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            1. If you put your raw rice in a pan of water and swish it around, dump that milky water and redo in the the water is clear then cook it, that will remove a lot of the arsenic.




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          1. Hello everyone, I’m a trained chef, graduated culinary school and worked in 5 star rest. 9yrs. in N.Y.C Been studying nutrition 35yrs as well. Some good culinary advise, I always rinse the starch off my rice 3x In theory I believe this may extract starch as well as some arsenic!? Just a theory, though I know it strips some of the nutrients away as well, But This is how I was trained. Unless I am making sushi/sashimi I do not rinse the rice and cook the rice with sesame oil and a bit of rice wine vinagar, to give that nice asian tangy taste. I also “cure” Any seafood, in a rice wine vinagrette, w/ginger, rather than serving raw due to risk of parasitic infection or bacterial contamination. Hope this info. Helps any sushi/sashimi lovers! Peace!




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      2. Lisa, how do we edit, as well as delete, past comments that we post on this website?

        We used to be able to do that, many months ago. Thanks for any info.




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      3. I’m excited to see Dr. Gregor’s next video set-it looks like he *may* have a way for us to cook rice so we can consume it at safe levels




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        1. Yes you can greatly reduce arsenic levels in rice, you soak it over night or longer in lots of pure water and rinse it well then cook in new water. To really reduce it more some recommend cooking in more water than the rice will absorb and draining the excess. So far I have been happy just with the soak and rinse and have not done the boil and drain thing yet. (Whole Food Plant Based Certified)




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      4. Hi Lisa,

        I am also confused. You propose to replace rice with millet. These 2 grains have almost identical calories. Also, rice and millet are almost identical in their % of calories from carbohydrates (85% and 82% of calories from carbohydrates, respectively).




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        1. I don’t mean to speak for her but I think she is just switching because Millet is not known for picking up arsenic from the soil like rice. It might have a bit better glycemic index too, but I would have to check that out to be sure.




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          1. No, the moderator said that reducing her rice intake would help her lose weight (“wouldn’t hurt my waistline”). She is claiming that eating rice makes you fat.




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        2. Hi David,

          I hope you can see from my comment above that I was trying to make a joke….. in case you missed it, here it is again! You are right, of course, rice and millet have identical calories. I’ll be saving on arsenic when I cut out rice, not necessarily calories!!

          “Thanks for asking! One of the difficulties of communicating in this fashion is that when combined with an attempt at self-depreciating humor it sometimes falls flat!!!

          Allow me to explain for your benefit, and the benefit of the community. I am limiting my rice intake for one reason, because of arsenic content. However, I eat a LOT of rice. Not eating rice will mean that I’ll be eating fewer calories overall. If I eat less rice, I may lose a little weight – but here’s the joke – I don’t really need to. (I know, not funny, but I guess you had to be there…..). I’m going to replace my rice calories (probably) with quinoa, millet, buckwheat and perhaps amaranth, all whole grains, which of course are carbohydrates. I’m not carb cutting, I’m arsenic cutting!!!!!

          Does that make more sense? Thanks for asking for that clarification!!!!

          And, thanks for being part of our community.”




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        1. It seems there is less arsenic in Jasmine rice as Dr. Greger pointed out. Here is some additional information I uncovered: A 2007 study in Environmental Health Perspectives, reported that basmati rice from India and Pakistan, as well as jasmine rice from Thailand, had the least arsenic. But other research has had contradictory results.One study I found in PubMed (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23859827 “Determination of arsenic species in rice from Thailand and other Asian countries using simple extraction and HPLC-ICP-MS analysis”. concluded “The total As and inorganic As in rice samples were in the ranges of 22.51-375.39 and 13.89-232.62 μg kg(-1)” Hope that’s helpful.




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      1. We will have to wait and see what the new food guide looks like . Right now the Canada food guide for a young child includes three glasses of milk per day plus yogurt and cheese in their sample menus . Plus the Dairy Council of Canada is strongly protesting any changes to reduce recommendations of less milk in diets.. They also say there are 15 nutrients in milk that {implied} you can not get from other sources




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  2. Silly, smug vegans, did you think that you could evade the pervasive toxic contaminants that have been so casually distributed throughout the world?

    It make one wonder as to what sort of insane, short sighted sociopathic psyche could ever conclude that the indiscriminate dispersal of poison into the food supply and environment is acceptable, and what kind of sick twisted system of government would allow such activities. It’s as American as lead arsenate contaminated apple pie.




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    1. Oh, come on Joe. Lighten up, it’s the American way!

      So now we can’t eat rice or potatoes. And corn is GMO so that’s out. What exactly are we supposed to eat? All this organic stuff is getting expensive.




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    1. Hello Bobbi,
      Dr. G. has done several videos about arsenic in rice, and how much of a problem that is. See the “Doctor’s Note” for the list of these videos, if you haven’t already done so.

      Dr. Jon
      Family doctor, and volunteer moderator for NutritionFacts.org




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      1. FYI just tried to click on three of the links in the Doctor’s Note and they all got 404 page not found errors-
        Which Rice Has Less Arsenic: Black, Brown, Red, White or Wild?
        Which Brands & Sources of Rice Have the Least Arsenic?
        How to Cook Rice to Lower Arsenic Levels




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    1. Hi Bobbi,

      You’re in luck! I just found this information from Consumer Reports with the arsenic rice rankings. Good news (for me!) California basmati rice is lowest (that’s what we eat, YAY!!!). But pay attention to other very healthful and delicious whole grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat. This dietitian nutritionist volunteer (yours truly) recommends you add MORE of these kinds of foods into your diet, and move away from rice. Don’t eliminate it – just eat a lot less of it.

      Thanks for your question!




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    2. Dr Fuhrman’s site indicates rice from India and Pakistan contains lower arsenic levels: https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/26/arsenic-the-dark-side-of-rice . There does not seem to be a reference for this, although I would guess that if the arsenic is coming from CAFO chicken farms, developing countries would have fewer of these historically, so there may be less runoff to traditional rice fields. I’ve been buying Asian rice since I read this.




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  3. Are we better off buying rice from another country? If so, any suggestions? I doubt you’re going to tell me China…. How about mushrooms? Are we better off not eating them? Thanks




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    1. According to Consumer Reports,
      “White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. on average has half of the inorganic-arsenic amount of most other types of rice.”

      Oh, and by the way, rinsing rice thoroughly before cooking reduces arsenic levels by 30%. ALWAYS rinse your rice before you cook it.

      Hope this helps!




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  4. I, too, would like to know what kind of rice in the world has the lowest arsenic and other contaminants. Recently finding out about this matter, my family has temporarily given up rice but we miss it and would purchase rice grown from clean sources even at a much greater expense. A follow-up video on this would be great appreciated. I did a bit of searching myself, but didn’t come up with much.




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    1. We buy Lundberg rice. As I recall their rice is grown in California. In the past they’ve tested batches of different types and posted their results. Haven’t checked in a few years though but when I did, the amount of arsenic was not that high.




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    2. Hi. I am a moderator with NutritionFacts. Dr Greger is going to discuss which rice has the lowest arsenic and which brands of rice have the least arsenic on the 26th and 28th of July. So that you do not miss these fantastic videos, you can subscribe here.




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    1. We want to take a class in local edible fungi ID, and have also been tempted by “grow your own” mushroom kits. Anyone here ever try one of those?




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  5. How much arsenic laden chicken should one eat. I eat maybe a 1/2 lb of chicken salad a week. Is this too much? Also, I love tortilla chips which have rice in them. It is an organic brand, but I won’t mention the name.’

    Thank you.




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    1. Hi Anna,

      I am a volunteer moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions posted to Nutritionfacts. I’m also a whole foods plant based dietitian nutritionist.
      There are many problems with chicken, and I’m not sure that arsenic is the worst of them. Dr. Greger has posted three pages of videos that you can peruse regarding chicken and its problems. You may not need to worry as much about arsenic in your rice if you stop eating arsenic laden chicken!

      Thanks for being part of our community!




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  6. I consume ground flax seed everyday in my breakfast. I’ve heard that flax seed is heavily laden with arsenic. Do you recommend not eating ground flax seed?




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    1. If you can’t find organic Canadian sourced flax seeds try their organic, processed under nitrogen, unoxidized oil (it has no taste). They grow the oil in Saskatchewan and it has tons of vit. E. Jarrow (brand) distributes it in US. Organic walnuts/oil works the same (~60%).




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  7. Many mushrooms are grown indoors. Any information on organic mushrooms. I eat them every day. They are part of my anti cancer protocol from nutritionist




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  8. From where does arsenic (As) come? It is an essential trace element. Its toxicity can be ‘neutralized’ by an equivalent dose of selenium (Se), as demonstrated in rats back in the ’30’s. Se is more important anyway, so fearing your As should be indicated by reading your cues for Se level. I eat pure selenious acid to the point of a taste in my mouth. I eat it when dermatitis manifests on my wrists, left first, then the right. I have found that this is like a dermatitis, like from Nickel (Ni) and associated with a negative reaction to immune functioning. So, I’m really not concerned about my As as Se encompasses its control. I doubt that anyone has the symptoms of As lack, whatever that is. Back in ’75 Schwartz pursued the essentiality of As and Ni among others. I used such information for a required seminar needed to degree in Biochemistry entitled “Is Ni really a necessary trace element?” Schwartz had a real tough time trying to eliminate all the Ni in the chickens or rats in spite of sourcing distilled water and food from the midwest. He further needed to go to plastic cages instead of stainless steel and filter the air with a laminar flow unit for dust removal (yes, Ni is in dust). Also deriving 2nd and 3rd generation animals without of the trace elements in question. With Ni in particular there were no gross anomalies so subcellular inspection was mandated. The only thing he found was that the stalks holding the ATP-ase knobs off the folded crystae inside the mitochondria were stunted like a slack rope. There were no measurements or correlations made to the rate of ATP production nor any change in gross appearance. So I argued that if any energetic or other effects resulting from lack of Ni were to arise then testing such animals by the dietary addition of palladium (Pd), just below Ni in the transition elements, to see if it corrected the abnormality or not. If not, and it (Pd) also stunted the stalks then Ni is not a necessarily essential and possibly Pd is. Not to worry. When I later worked as a plating shop chemist and was asked if I had any bleach to neutralize a cyanide spill (plastic pipe joint rupture). So I looked up cyanide solubility of metals and found that Ni renders it completely insoluble, so I made some in the fume hood to test to find that even conc. hydrochloric acid doesn’t dissolve Ni(CN)2. I further found that Selenides of similar metals (Hg, Pb, etc.) also occurs to tie them up. Further research yielded that HgSe permanently stores in the liver as cubic crystals on the order of about 100 atoms size. Selenium goes after many of the heavy metals which cause cancer, etc. At that plating shop I had noticed swelling of the PVC piping in and above the tank. I questioned its serviceability temperature, looked it up: goes to 140°F. I checked the temperature since they ran the Rochelle Cu cyanide strike at or more the limit. Now, I calibrated my Hg thermometer & freezing & @ boiling, with much watching for the latter. So, mine was correct and tank was too hot. That’s why it blew and luckily no one got doused. Nobody ever listens to me. P.S., Se is associated with longevity, reduced cancer, and is at the heart of the most important anti-oxidant enzyme, Glutathione Peroxidase, the driver of most redox systems where energy drives life. Se saved my mom’s life and my friend’s also.




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    1. Steve, interesting post!
      I get a similar dermatitis, manifesting when I’m tired or run down. So far nothing I’ve tried has eliminated whatever it is lurking in my system to cause this (virus? fungus?).
      So my interest perked up at your solution, “I eat pure selenious acid to the point of a taste in my mouth.”
      I’d never heard of selenious acid. So did a search and found this:

      SELENIOUS ACID
      Signal: Danger
      GHS Hazard Statements
      H301 (100%): Toxic if swallowed [Danger Acute toxicity, oral – Category 3]
      H331 (100%): Toxic if inhaled [Danger Acute toxicity, inhalation – Category 3]
      H373 (50%): Causes damage to organs through prolonged or repeated exposure [Warning Specific target organ toxicity, repeated exposure – Category 2]
      Health Hazard Selenious acid and its salts are capable of penetrating the skin and can produce acute poisonings. Causes irritations and burns of the skin. It is highly toxic orally. Inorganic selenium compounds may cause dermatitis. (EPA, 1998)
      . https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/selenious_acid#section=Skin-First-Aid

      How do you gorge this stuff without ill effect??




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  9. It’s not like the people, who were involved in industries that led to the spread of arsenic in our food & water, aren’t affect by it, either. It’s not like there’s some evil empire that’s consciously poisoning the masses with toxins because they don’t care about them. They and their families are eating it, too. Their children, their grandchildren, for generations they’ve been consuming this stuff as well. It shows how shortsighted, disconnected, and in denial our society is. I wish everybody would just wake up!

    This is off topic but it’s related in an analogous way. I have a friend who used to do trading for a big organization in the meat industry. Whenever I went to his house for dinner, he would rail again vegan & vegetarianism, saying that it wasn’t sustainable for the planet, and there’s nothing wrong with eating meat, yadda, yadda, yadda. He refused to listen to anything I had to say on the subject. Because he was a commodities trader, he thought he knew it all. A couple of times he seemed kind of annoyed because I wouldn’t eat any of the meat or dairy items that were on the table. He kept looking over at my plate of vegetables. I’m pretty sure he thought I was being rude for not eating the main staple of the meal they prepared. He’s had 2 heart attacks. One of them resulted in double or triple bi-pass surgery. He’s on statins. The last time I talked to him, he said he could barely do anything because he tires so easily. I think he’s in his early 60s. He has kids. His whole family eats the SAD. You would think they’d get a clue & reconsider their eating habits. You would think he’d want to push his kids to take better care of themselves.

    I can understand that when we’re young, we think we’re invincible & that nothing can touch us. But eventually we all learn that we’re not. What in God’s name will it take for people to wake up!




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    1. To carry on with this, a friend was with the California Dairy Council. His son and daughter-in-law were the first to blow the whistle on milk in our group of friends – way back in the ’70s. He was adamant they were wrong. There were many discussions. He retired in the ’80s and within months changed his tune, went off dairy – it was “bad”. Alas, too late. He had aggressive and advanced prostate cancer.




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      1. I know, Pat. It’s as if they’re drinking the proverbial, cyanide-laced kool aid. They may as well be, & it would be much quicker.




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  10. Not surprising at all, but the FDA makes no mention of poultry or the use of their feces to make fertilizer for rice and other foods. No mention at all. Infers that water and natural contamination of the soils are the cause. It appears that serving BIG AG is much more important than the health of the people. Of course we already knew that.

    https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm352569.htm

    I was digging around for BLACK rice information as I only have one source because I live in Middle America where food choices can be MUCH more limited than big cities and coastal areas. Cadmium has been found in Black Rice from Thailand, according to some reports that I cannot verify.

    My black rice is Katoshima brand. Anyone know of it, or where it is from? There is no origin information that I can decipher on the label.




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    1. Wade, it looks like a company called Kim-Seng owns the trademark for “Katoshima”: http://www.trademarkia.com/kotashima-brand-76209288.html
      Kim-Seng is based in CA: http://www.ihabeverage.com/IHABeverage.html
      It looks like they’re an importer/distributor & source products from all over China, including their black rice. According to Dr. G’s research, rice from China is safer.

      Lundberg brand (from CA) has lower levels of arsenic & grows at least 2 types of black rice that I know of. They sell it all over the country & might sell it near you: http://www.lundberg.com/where-to-buy/
      Or at least close enough that you could stock up on it. Rice lasts forever.




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  11. Hey, what happened to Joe Caner’s comment? And the thread that followed it? Was it deleted? If so, why?
    Joe always makes me laugh.




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  12. dr Greger, any time you report the trouble and you know the solution, please report it , like : it is known that Se can fight the arsenic




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  13. With regard to rice specifically, I now find that there are articles about how to reduce the contamination of your rice. Before I take any “extra” measures, I’d like to know if any valid scientific studies have shown any methods to be effective to any significant degree.

    Thanks in Advance.




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    1. Wade, I can’t quote you studies at the moment, but you’re safer buying rice grown in California, and not TX, LA, or other States in The South. Most of the fields now used to grow rice were previously cotton fields, and arsenic based treatments were used regularly. I don’t know what the half-life of arsenic is, but you can look that up and let us know.




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      1. Yes, I’ve never had the opportunity to purchase black rice from any source but one. The supply chain is very very limited in Podunk, MiddleAmerica. Of course most folks live in big cities with dozens of options, and that’s the crowd Dr. G plays to. thanks.




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        1. Wade, can’t you get the safer Lundberg California rice from Amazon or directly from the company? You would have to pay postage, but it seems to me it would be worth it.




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    2. Wade, Dr. G did find an effective way to reduce arsenic contamination significantly, so stay tuned. If you can’t wait, then you can always livestream the series or get the DVD, like I did :)




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          1. So I was just guessing with the black rice I soaked overnight and cooked “softly” today. Also rinsed the crap out of it. Arsenic in the septic tank is better than my belly. The source of that info was “the FDA” referred to by “The Chicago Tribune” and I’m not particularly impressed by either source as a source or any valid information.

            I doubt I’ll eat enough arsenic-laced rice to cause problems before the “gospel” by MG comes out here.

            I survived ALL those years of arsenic-fortified meat food products already. A few more weeks of arsenic-tainted rice won’t change a thing.




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              1. I made a wonderful batch of beautiful black rice after lots of extra soaking and rinsing.

                Then I threw most of it out after letting is sit too long uneaten. I just couldn’t warm up to eating it if I hadn’t “properly” de-poisoned it. This is another reason I absolutely hate the strung-out “series” type videos and the fact that each batch of videos is so long–ESPECIALLY since the comments/discussion area has become so untenable and user un-friendly. Hell I’m still looking for the post that Nancy tried to refer me back to. My BP may be elevated from the frustrations.

                Funny how the mind works. I won’t cook any more rice until I find a better source than the FDA and Chicago Tribune for how to do it. I like NF, not industry lackey assurances.




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  14. And there are a wide range of plant foods which support eliminating toxic heavy metals and are already included in the “Daily Dozen”. Googling the subject will provide many links.




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  15. I know this raises tons of questions and it will be a few weeks before all the arsenic videos pop up here on NutritionFacts.org. Just wanted to remind folks that you can stream them all right now by making a donation to the 501c3 nonprofit that keeps this site up and running. Don’t worry, they’ll all eventually be up for free. This is just if you want to get a sneak peek.




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  16. More blame on chicken poop fertilizer by the doctor. Any chance he can lay his hand on meat and dairy consumption, he will sure do. Sometimes I don’t know when he talks about sciences and nutrition or just anti animal foods.

    First of all, I don’t eat CAFO raised animal foods. Secondly, arsenic in the soil comes from nature, and from further soil contamination such as pesticides and sludge.

    Some plant varieties tend to suck more arsenic than others.

    https://phys.org/news/2008-07-dioxin-soil-tissues-long-term-biosolids.html

    https://www.greenfacts.org/en/arsenic/




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    1. Here in farm country it’s not just chicken poop we dump on our fields…there is pig…cow…human also (containing drugs, etc.). They bring it out to the fields in tanker trucks…park the rig in the middle of the field hook a line up to the tanker…and using another rig they drive around the field spraying the poop out.

      In other cases they use the same type of large irrigator systems as seen in the west (more arid areas) that “walk” large sprayers around the fields in a circular pattern…usually no need for irrigation here.




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  17. Where arsenic in rice is concerned, it’s not the chickens. In The South (where I was born and raised), most of the rice fields you see now, were previously cotton fields. The treatment used on the field cotton was high in arsenic, and no doubt this is a major contributor to the take up in rice now grown in same fields.




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  18. We love eating mushrooms in our house! Do organic mushrooms have lower arsenic levels then conventional ones? Are there any ways to cook them to get rid of some of the arsenic? I heard that with rice, if you cook it like pasta and drain the water it removes a fair amount of the arsenic. Please let me know! We don’t want to have to cut down on them.




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  19. Perhaps i watched this too quickly as I am working but didn’t the video show a drop off in mushroom arsenic contamination starting about a decade ago? If so, why?




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  20. Hello Dr. Greger and colleagues,

    I looked for a contact spot to just send a thank you letter and couldn’t find it so I hope this makes it to you. I have battled diabetes since 2012 with my weight and A1C creeping upward at every exam until topping out in December of 2016 at 10.2 and 334 lbs. I discovered your videos through Mic the Vegan on Youtube and began implementing a plant based diet gradually at first and fully vegan as of early April. I went into for my diabetes exam this morning to get new numbers. I knew things were better because I feel better but I was not prepared for what I was told. I have lost 29 lbs. My blood pressure has gone from 150/80 to 115/75 and my A1C has gone from 10.2 to 6.2 putting my diabetes in remission. I was taken off of one of my meds and another was halved. My resting heart rate, energy level, and color have all dramatically improved as well.

    I cannot thank you enough. According to my PCP I have saved my kidneys, my heart, my eyes, and my feet. I may have put it into practice but I never would have known what to do without you and your team. Once again thank you, a thousand times thank you!

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Self Gautreaux




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    1. Wow, Sarah Self Gautreaux!! I am just a NF fan, but I have to say that your post is really terrific to read. Good on you! I have been looking around the site for a spot to write testimonies, but cant seem to find one yet, though I have seen a couple of them on the NF facebook page. Anyway, thanks for sharing – you’ve offered hope and inspiration to the many that will read these comments.
      Very best wishes to you on your good health journey!




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    2. Sarah – I am completely impressed that made such great changes for yourself. Good for YOU! There is nothing that feels better than being in control of your health and knowing how to help yourself.
      I also feel quite sad that your own PCP had no idea how to help you. I would consider asking your PCP for a refund on any co-pays you have given him/her. . . . Just a thought.

      In any case, good for you.




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  21. Awhile back I saw a video about starch resistant grains, like cold rice and cold corn, that were good for digestion and elimination, but, can’t put my finger on the video now. Anyway, I have a question… Imperial College released a study in February about plant based eating being best… http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_22-2-2017-16-38-0

    The study cited 800 grams of fruits and vegetables per day gave the best results in disease reduction. Not sure about the amount of rice, however… and it’s a grain… well… my question is would 800 grams of fruits and vegetables be the same for a 110 pound woman and a 250 pound man or woman? I wrote to the college, but no email back.

    Do you, Lisa, or Dr. Greger have any info on that study and the amount of daily fruits and vegetables suitable for individuals according to their body weight?

    I like brown rice, but, am withdrawing from it because of this arsenic issue, but, what about not getting enough calories without it?

    Thanks,
    Mercedes




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    1. As one of the moderators for NF.org, I saw your interesting question about exactly how many grams of fruits/vegetables are need for a specific human weight. I’m afraid the studies to not get too diffuse focus on just one weight, or often two (typical male, female weights) To break down the results of a study per 10 or even 20 pound weight differences while results would be interesting, would be too difficult to for study design. Best you can do is make an educated guess, recognizing that statement referring to a 140 lb woman for example will assume slight adjustment in intake for the 160 lb woman.However, the adjustment wouldn’t be great and may only translate into a slightly larger banana, lets say. As the excellent study you referenced stated, the more (fruits/vegetables generally) the better, so more servings or slightly larger than recommended servings might be in order for the 250 lb man. This is where to err, eating more vegetables and fruits, would be the smarter strategy, if you’re concerned you might need more than the recommended grams.
      You said you like brown rice, but are withdrawing (stay tuned. That may not be necessary.) Still to get enough calories you can turn to nuts and seeds which wlll quickly provide more calories. The video you were looking for is probably either https://nutritionfacts.org/video/resistant-starch-colon-cancer/ or
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/getting-starch-to-take-the-path-of-most-resistance/ The first one references cornmeal, although it does not mention corn. Hope that helps and follow NF.org for updates on the rice concerns.




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      1. Hi, Joan,

        Thanks for addressing my question about the amount of grams appropriate for body weight.
        800 grams of fruits and vegetables in the recent study from Imperial College that I cited is not impossible I have found out… for me a 110 female 5’5″. Guess I won’t worry so much about it now.

        My little dietetic scale (grams/ounces) shows that 1 large pear is 350 grams before cutting out the core… so, I figure that, nibbling on that during the day, plus 2 medium apples at 150 grams approx. each and 300 grams of strawberries… about 1 cup and a half of large ones… it is not too hard when spread throughout the day. I like fruit better than vegetables.
        Looking forward to more rice info from Dr. G… don’t want to throw it out! Will look up those other videos on starch.

        Both caring and educational to the max, please keep going…. hope my donation helped! I am recommending it to all my friends!

        With gratitude, Mercedes




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  22. I have to say after I watched the video about arsenic and read the comments, I felt, perhaps not sick but certainly scared and frustrated too. I have tried for years to eat what I thought were healthy foods. I call myself vegan and try to keep it that way but now I don’t know if it is worth it. I like rice and mushrooms and wine and all of the above are contaminated. There was one question in the comments that asked, what can we eat then? I don’t remember a direct answer but I suppose it would be a variety of whole-food-plant-based things but or should I say BUT if even they are poisoned; what can we safely eat? Maybe the answer is something I remember from several years ago when there was for some reason a scare about nuclear war. The advice then was, “turn your back to the mushroom cloud, put you head between your knees and kiss your butt goodbye” I despair.




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    1. I understand where you are coming from Dalex99… this is distressing information and where will we get the calories… and safely???? Please someone on the team respond. There is no plant based nutritionist where I live… or even a single doctor that I can find who is in this line of thinking. My cardiologist seems to tolerate me when I talk about plant based nutrition, and that’s about it. I think we need professional menus to work from. I cannot practically work the daily dozen even! And am now trying to find menus for the 800 grams of fruits and veggies in that Imperial College Study. Help! Dr. Greger, Team Members! Help!




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      1. Hi Lindley, I had a look at the study which you mention and it was an epidemiological study, looking at populations, and basically saying that more fruit and veg is better (versus UK official recommendations of 5 a day). It does not mean absolutely everyone has to eat exactly 800 gram per day. Dr Ornish and Dr Esselstyn conducted the pioneering clinical studies showing that by using plant based and low fat diet, heart disease can be reversed. Dr Greger quotes them extensively, their books are easily available including recipes and there is a lot of free material on their websites. In my opinion, every doctor and certainly every cardiologist should know about their work. Dr Ornish has served as President Bill Clinton’s cardiologist after his heart attack. The past president of the American College of Cardiology, Dr Kim Williams, had a lot positive to say about plant based eating. I think that if you eliminate harmful items from your diet (saturated fats, processed foods) and eat in the direction of the ‘daily dozen’ in Dr Greger’s book, you do not have to get too stressed about exact quantities, No foods, or water or even air is perfect, but if we vary our foods that can give some protection from getting too much of the same toxin. The article by Oberoi cited in the references says that dietary arsenic accounts for a ‘small but significant increase the n cancer’. I think a sense of proportion is helpful and to just do what we can and continually improve. There are a couple of sites like plantbaseddocs, and plantbaseddoctors, which may help you find sympathetic and knowledgeable professionals in your area. Hope some of that is helpful




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        1. Thank you, Dr. Miriam, so much for sharing your experience and knowledge. Will definitely study your information!
          Grateful… do not want to become frightened to eat! It is supposed to be pleasurable as well as useful… and do you know where can I go to find out about the proper number of grams per weight?




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          1. Mercedes, I think you will find sufficient answers in the references that I gave you. There is not, to my knowledge any exact references for weight of food to consume, based on your own weight. However, there are some people who feel better if they get individual support/guidance/reassurance in the process of changing their eating habits. Individual help of that nature is beyond the scope of what we do on the website, therefore if you are feel individualized help would be good for you, you will need to find a trained professional who is sympathetic to a plant based approach, and again, I would suggest that the references I gave you may be helpful. Good luck and all the best,

            ד”ר מרים מייזל מומחית ברפואת המשפחה עם דגש על תזונה ואורח חיים מורשה להיפנוזה

            Dr Miriam Maisel M.D.
            Family Practitioner With emphasis on nutrition and lifestyle Licensed to practice hypnosis

            drmiriammaisel@hotmail.com

            http://www.dr-maisel.co.il

            [1470563545387_skype-add.png] Miriam Maisel [1470564048418_facebook.png]




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    2. Come on, things are THAT bad. Yes, it’s discouraging to learn some of our favorite foods are not without contamination, but they still have valuable nutrients in them and we may not need to give them up entirely. Variety and limiting servings may be the key strategies. Stay tuned, because Dr. Greger will be discussing this in the future. Meanwhile don’t despair. Our bodies are very good at recovering and adapting if we don’t assault them with repeated servings of the Standard American diet. Now go eat some berries or oatmeal or beans or any other number of healthy foods while we learn how we’ll deal with this arsenic update.
      To your good health and more hopeful outlook,
      Joan-NurseEducator




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  23. How much white mushroom is too much?

    I eat about 1-2 pounds/week. Sometimes organic/sometimes conventional. I do saute them. I use a lot of mushrooms because they fill me up!




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    1. Debbie, thanks for writing. To answer your question, I would have to say, moderation in all things! Too much of anything – even water – is toxic. One to two pounds per week sounds like a lot of mushrooms. ALL fruits and veggies can help fill you up – that’s the benefit of eating low on the energy-density scale. If you give up some of your mushrooms for broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, and carrots (think crucifer and carotene-containing types) your detox mechanisms will become more active, which should give you a better chance of getting any arsenic (along with over heavy metals) out of your body.




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  24. Are there any tips for reducing the arsenic content in mushrooms? I assume rinsing them thoroughly may help but is there anything else we can do as mushrooms have many unique healthy properties and I would like to keep them in my diet on a regular basis if possible.




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  25. For some reason, your video presentations have had a format change. There is no longer ‘full screen’ and the current display requires scrolling. Is it me or did you change something in the presentation.




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    1. Thank you for your message, Mitchell. While the video presentations have had a format change, you should still be able to watch them in ‘full screen’. If you click the Play button in the middle of the video and then aim your mouse to the lower right of the video, do you see a little white box? That is what you will need to press to make the video full screen.

      Please let us know if this helps. We apologize for any display issues you may be having!




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  26. Rice and mushrooms sucking up arsenic from soil could be a good thing. Perhaps we could use these plants strategically to remove the arsenic from the land over time? (Provided there wasn’t the regular reintroduction of arsenic via manure and water). I’ve heard of mushrooms being used around old fuel stations to remove heavy metals. I naturally get inedible mushrooms in my garden: I think I will pick and dispose of them after they spore instead of leaving them.




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    1. Hi, Marcia. Yes, there may be arsenic in organic mushrooms. Even organic chickens may have high levels of arsenic due to soil, water, and feed contamination. While applying arsenic to organic crops is prohibited, manure may present a grey area with regard to organic certification requirements.
      I would think that mushrooms grown on trees or logs, without manure, might be less prone to contamination, but I do not have hard data on that. You might seek out local producers, and find out how they grow their mushrooms, depending on where you live. Some areas have a lot more arsenic contamination than others. You might also stick with mushrooms lowest in arsenic, such as chanterelle. I hope that helps!




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  27. Hello from Austria, Europe!
    I’m not sure where to write my question about mushrooms, so I decided to take that video. In your book you write that mushrooms are “green” food products gut WILD mushrooms are “red”. What is the reason for that? Is it the danger to collect poisonous mushrooms? Or the heavy metals and toxic stuff? (I know mushrooms very well and love to look for them in the woods.)
    Thank you very much!
    Yours Katharina




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  28. Does Dr. Gregor recommend against mushrooms now? Many of his videos present studies on the benefits of mushrooms. Does this new information about arsenic in mushrooms mean that the harm is greater than the benefits now? Can one of the moderators please see if Dr. Gregor can answer this very important question as many of us have made a special effort to add mushrooms to our diets everyday because of the health benefits. Thank you.




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    1. Hi, Rosemarie. I have passed along your request for clarification on this issue. Meanwhile, I would guess that mushrooms not grown with chicken litter would be less likely to be contaminated with arsenic than those that are. Some mushrooms are grown on rotting logs, for example. Depending on where you live, you might want to try to find a small, local mushroom producer, and find out how they grow their mushrooms. If they do not use poultry manure, then the mushrooms are likely safer to eat. Until we have a more definitive answer, I hope that helps!




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  29. But if the soil is laden with arsenic, then surely all the crops grown in that soil will be contaminated, not just rice and mushrooms? What about all the other grains and vegetables ?




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    1. Hi, Sasha. Yes, other crops do absorb arsenic from contaminated soil and water, but much less than rice. The thing about rice, which was covered in an earlier video in this series, is that it absorbs arsenic so well that it can be used to remove arsenic from contaminated soils. It should be discarded afterwards, not eaten. I hope that helps!




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  30. This is not necessarily so as rice has an inherent ability to absorb more arsenic from the soil as compared to other plants, which is why we see arsenic in rice from locales that do not have abnormally high levels of soil arsenic. That said, I would not want to eat anything grown in the regions with artificially high arsenic in the soil, such as those areas where arsenic pesticides were sprayed for many years.




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