I was watching the news while B was eating his dinner...which included rice...and I nearly leaped across the table to push the plate away from him. The latest report from Consumer Reports' study that revealed dangerous levels in both rice and products containing rice. Arsenic isn't supposed to be in rice....it isn't supposed to be in food at all. It has been commonly used in rat poison. Think about that for a second. It is used to kill rats and yet it is found in the vary food that most doctors suggest be our babies first solid food.
You are probably wondering how the heck arsenic gets into rice in the first place? The simple answer is farming and industry. Arsenic based pesticides and fertilizers, municipal waste, industry and mining all contaminate the ground with inorganic arsenic. 80% of rice grown in the USA is on lands that were previously sprayed with arsenic pesticide or manure that contains arsenic. So you have arsenic in the soil and rice growing in flooded waters where it sucks up the arsenic from the soil. Your rice is literally swimming in arsenic.
What can we do about this? I mean we have to be able to do something right? The answer is not as simple as no longer eating rice because arsenic is also in rice based products like rice flour, rice crackers, baby food, cereal bars and rice based energy drinks. It isn't in all rice based products but it is in many, even organic products so unless you do solid research to find out what products do not contain arsenic you really can not be sure that you and your family are safe. The first step that we are taking until we can find a safe source is to cut back on the amount of rice we eat and to change the way we cook it. Make sure you wash your rice before you cook it. Then cook it in 6 parts water to 1 part rice and drain the excess water when the rice is done cooking. Joey cooks his rice this way and I always thought he was crazy...turns out he is not. Go here for more tips.
Please join the Green Sisterhood as we stand together and fight for arsenic to be out of our rice. Sign this petition asking for a change in regulations. Share the petition with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and right on the petition website.
Anna Hackman is the organizer of the Change.org Arsenic in Rice Petition. She is a sustainability consultant, co-founder of the Green Sisterhood and editor of Green Talk.
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