Are There Still Dangerously High Levels of Arsenic and Lead in Rice? How to Cook Rice to Remove Heavy Metals



If you heard the news headlines in 2012 about the high arsenic content found in many rices sold right on grocery store shelves and the study in 2013 about the dangerous levels of lead in many rices, then you may have forgotten all about them by now and began eating rice again or are still keeping rice out of your diet for the lead worries. Is rice safe now? Read on to find out the latest research into lead and arsenic levels in rice and if they are still high.

A Recap of the Original Rice Concerns

Unlike many issues of food contamination that don’t make it to the public, in 2012, a study of the arsenic levels in rice was shared with the public. Then, to make matters even worse, studies in 2013 revealed high levels of lead in rice. Like many similar stories, they made the news and were being talked about be everyone, then after a week or two, many people forgot about the studies and went back to life, and likely eating heavy metal filled rice, as usual.

Is Rice Still Filled with These Poisons?

If you have been holding off for the “all clear” to begin eating rice again, or if this is the first time you are hearing of this news, then you will be happy to hear that it was determined that the study that found dangerously high levels of lead in rice was found to be flawed. However, there is still some lead in rice, just not as much as the original study suggested.

However, the arsenic levels measured in rice were correctly measured, and those findings have never been withdrawn or refuted. That makes it important to know what rice to choose that has the lowest content of arsenic and lead.

How to Choose Rice Has the Lowest Levels of Arsenic and Lead

You can eat rice with less worry of ingesting these poisons when you choose the right rice and cook it properly. First, avoid brown rice, since it is always more highly contaminated with both heavy metals. Also, avoid any type of rice grown in Texas or China (even the locals won’t eat the rice grown in China), since they typically have the highest levels of contaminants.

What rice is safer? Choose rice grown in California, especially white Basmati, and white rice grown in India or Pakistan.

Use This Cooking Trick To Remove Arsenic and Lead from Rice

Cooking rice a certain way can also reduce heavy metal content dramatically, although it also reduces the nutrient content, unfortunately. When cooking any rice, don’t add equal amounts of rice and water to a pan and let simmer until the water is fully absorbed (this is the most popular way to cook it).

Instead, prepare it as you would pasta – fill a large pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Then add your rice, cook for the same period of time you usually would, and drain off the excess water. Make sure to use a large pot you can put plenty of extra water in, because the heavy metals will leach into the water when cooking, and can then be drained off.

You can eat rice without ingesting poisons when you choose the right rice and cook it properly to reduce the contaminants in it.

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