Rice: It seems so innocent, but a new study finds that eating it can expose you to arsenic. Chronic high exposure to the chemical has been linked to cancers and other health problems, but scientists are also growing concerned about low-dose exposures. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable because links have been found between arsenic exposure and low birth weight, Time reports. The study tested the urine of 229 pregnant women for arsenic concentration.
Those who ate rice daily (an average of half a cup cooked) had median arsenic levels of 5.27 micrograms per liter, compared to 3.38mcg per liter for non-rice-eaters. Both levels are still far below the EPA's standard of 10mcg per liter. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that, when their tap water was tested, more than 10% of the women were found to have higher levels of arsenic in their water than the EPA standards. Drinking water is the most common way of being exposed to arsenic, and rice can easily absorb arsenic from contaminated groundwater. Click to see what else in your kitchen could be contaminated with arsenic. (Read more arsenic stories.)