Food Standards Agency - Arsenic in rice research published: Nutritionist warns "the bigger problem is water"
UK Rice Milk Manufacturers Response - FSA Rice and Arsenic Statement
Further to the publication of the Food Standards Information Sheet on arsenic levels in rice products, including rice grains, rice food stuffs and drinks, we confirm that all of our rice drinks have been tested by both the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and an independent laboratory and both testing results are below the legal limits for levels of arsenic in foodstuffs.
The current UK legal limit for arsenic in non-alcoholic beverages is 100 parts per billion 0.1mg/kg). The results of the FSA and independent tests confirmed that none of our products exceeded 20 ppb for inorganic arsenic which is considerably lower than in other foodstuffs.
The European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) is reviewing its advice on arsenic levels, which may result in revised legal limits being set for all food stuff later this year. In the interest of consumer clarity, we had requested that the FSA await the final ruling from EFSA before publishing their statement. We will continue to cooperate with the FSA to ensure the highest level of food safety for our products.
Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says "Quite frankly this is yet more proof that variety is the spice of life. This could potentially be a problem if your child is only drinking rice milk. The levels measured by the FSA are one 5th of the recommended limits on drinks and that limit is one 10th of the amount allowed in food. The problem is that there are many other potential sources of arsenic in our diets and the problem will ultimately be the cumulative effect.If you are worried a simple hair mineral test can look for potentially toxic minerals building up in the body."
In the UK, there is a general limit of 1 mg/kg (milligram per kilogram) 1,000 parts per billion for arsenic in food 10 times more than is allowed in drinks.
Water contamination with arsenic was flagged as a problem 2 years ago http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6968574.stm The EU has set a maximum limit of 10 micrograms per litre (10 parts per billion) for arsenic in drinking water
The main sources of arsenic poisoning include:
• Contaminated drinking water
• Some ayurvedic medicines and Chinese herbal medicines
• Wood preservatives
• Ceramic enamels
• Tobacco (there may be as much as 6 mcg per pack)
• Burning of fossil fuels as arsenic is a contaminant
• From the diet, as organic arsenic from fish and seafood
• In the USA, illicit whiskey ('moonshine')
Arsenic Level in Tap Water --- *Approximate Total Cancer Risk
(in parts per billion, or ppb)- *(assuming 2 liters consumed/day)
0.5 ppb - * 1 in 10,000
1 ppb - * 1 in 5,000
3 ppb - * 1 in 1,667
4 ppb - * 1 in 1,250
5 ppb - * 1 in 1,000
10 ppb - * 1 in 500
20 ppb - * 1 in 250
25 ppb - * 1 in 200
50 ppb - * 1 in 100