Is Your Rice Safe?

A group of researchers lead by Tsanangurayi Tongesayi, an associate professor of chemistry at Monmouth University in New Jersey announced the results of their analysis of rice from Asia, Europe and South America. The imports, which currently make up about 7% of rice consumed in America, contained higher than acceptable levels of lead.

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The levels ranged from six milligrams/kilogram to 12 milligrams/kilogram; factoring in average consumption, that added up to estimated lead exposure levels 30 to 60 times greater than the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) provisional total tolerable intake (PTTI) levels for children and 20-40 times greater than the standard exposure levels for adults.

The agency’s PTTI represent the maximum level of contaminant exposure before potentially toxic or adverse health effects might occur. “Now, according to the FDA, for chemical toxicants to cause a health effect, they have to be ten times the PTTI. Our calculated exposure levels were two to 12 times higher than ten times the PTTI. Meaning, they can cause adverse health effects,” says Tongesayi.