Environmental Protection

High Levels of Lead Found in Imported Rice

In a meeting at the American Chemical Society, it was revealed that high levels of lead have been found in rice that’s been imported to the U.S. from certain countries. According to their research, baby food contained some of the highest levels of lead.

At the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, researchers showed that imported rice from countries in Asia, Europe, and South America contained high levels of lead, which can pose significant health problems in infants and children. Although imported rice only accounts for 7 percent consumed in the U.S., the findings are helping raise awareness in imported foods.

“Such findings present a situation that is particularly worrisome given that infants and children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning,” Tongesayi said. “For infants and children, the daily exposure levels from eating the rice products analyzed in this study would be 30-60 times higher than the FDA’s provisional total tolerable intake (PTTI) levels. Asians consume more rice, and for these infants and children, exposures would be 60-120 times higher. For adults, the daily exposure levels were 20-40 times higher than the PTTI levels.”

Tsanangurayi Tongesayi, Ph.D., and other researchers discovered that imported rice had about 6 to 12 milligrams of lead. The highest amounts of lead were found in rice imported from Taiwan and China. Rice from Bhutan, Czech Republic, India, Italy, and Thailand also contained high levels of lead. Since there has been an increase in imported rice, Tongesayi says that the rice has already made its way into grocery stores and restaurants.

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