So There’s Arsenic In My Rice… What Can I Do About It?

Earlier today, we told you about the Consumer Reports study that found varying levels of inorganic arsenic — a known carcinogen — in a wide variety of rice products. Since so many of us chow down on rice in some form on a regular basis, should we be worried?

“The goal of our report is to inform—not alarm—consumers about the importance of reducing arsenic exposure and offer actions they can take moving forward, such as limiting their rice consumption,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports.

And while CR is asking various federal agencies to set limits on the amount of arsenic tolerated in the foods we eat, you can choose to limit how much rice you consume each week just to be safe.

The below chart, taken from the November issue of Consumer Reports, shows how much of any of the given rice products you can eat or drink without possibly exposing yourself to high levels of arsenic.

Note that the recommended numbers are based on the assumption that you’re only eating one rice product during the specified time frame. So if you’re someone who likes eating a lot of rice — or a variety of rice products — your risk of exposure would likely be increased.

For people who overdo it on the rice in one week, they can balance their system out by cutting back on rice the next.

Consumer Reports’ review of federal health data found that people who ate rice had arsenic levels that were at least 44% greater than those who had not.