Target: U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Enact strict regulations regarding the levels of arsenic found in the U.S. food supply
Rice, both white and brown, is a staple side dish or even main course in many households across America. Rice is an excellent source of beneficial vitamins such as iron, vitamin D and calcium as well as cholesterol free and full of nutritious carbohydrates. However, a recent study suggests that levels of the chemical arsenic in rice and other rice products are dangerously high. No federal limit exists regarding the acceptable amount of arsenic in these foods and regulations must start being enforced.
Consumer Reports published a study noting these elevated levels of arsenic. Urshavi Rangan, the scientist conducting the study, tested more than 200 rice and rice product samples, many from name brand companies such as Kellog’s and Gerber. He recorded the levels to be very worrisome and said, “This isn’t a matter of trace amounts. These are moderate to moderately high levels of arsenic.”
Breakfast cereals, infant food and rice cakes are some examples of the rice products tested in this study, along with the actual grains of rice. Based on how prevalent these foods are in our society, their dangerously high levels of arsenic must be reduced.
There are two types of arsenic; organic and inorganic. Arsenic is naturally present in air, food, water and soil, and doesn’t pose too high of a risk. Inorganic arsenic, however, is a known human carcinogen and long exposure to this chemical can lead to skin, lung and bladder cancer and heart disease. Low levels of arsenic are mostly naturally occurring but due to the additions of man-made fertilizers and the wet environment of rice fields, absorption of dangerous chemicals like inorganic arsenic into the rice has been made easier.
The FDA has pledged to continue to study this issue and examine the health risks more closely. Please sign this petition and demand that the FDA impose a limit on the level of arsenic that can be found in rice and rice products in order for it to be sold and distributed.
Dear U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
Rice and rice products alike are a nutritious meal option in households all across America. However, a recent study published reported the findings of dangerously high levels of arsenic in these products. Levels have risen due to man-made fertilizers being rapidly absorbed in wet rice plantations.
While organic arsenic is naturally present in the air, water and soil surrounding us, inorganic arsenic poses threats to human health. A number of cancers such as lung, bladder and skin cancer have been linked to the ingestion of too much inorganic arsenic.
It is imperative that action be taken on this issue quickly. The FDA has acknowledged that these harmful arsenic levels do put people at risk, however more studies must be conducted to gain more information on the problem. The studies that have already been done do show that arsenic levels are moderately high, and with this information available, limiting public exposure of carcinogens in food must be done immediately. I urge the FDA to impose a limit on the amount of arsenic allowed in rice and rice products.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: IRRI Images via Flickr