It might be news to you that quite a lot of rice in the food chain contains worrying levels of arsenic. This is due to the way it is grown in flooded conditions where arsenic from soil minerals is released and absorbed by the plant.


The good news is that a group of scientists from Queens University Belfast have been exploring methods to remove the arsenic from rice, making it safer to eat. They found that cooking the rice in a domestic coffee percolator removed up to 85% of arsenic from the rice. The scientists are continuing their research in order to create a special rice cooker that uses percolation and can hopefully be made widely available for domestic use.

Alternatively, cooking rice by repeatedly flushing it through with fresh hot water can remove much of the grain’s stored arsenic, other researchers have found. Arsenic levels drop when rice is thoroughly rinsed and then cooked in an excessive amount of water. The method helps even when the cooking water contains arsenic. This will hopefully lessen levels of the toxic substance in one of the world’s most popular foods.

As funny as the idea of preparing rice in a coffee machine might sound (leave it to scientists to come up with eccentric solutions!), this food alert should be taken seriously as high levels of arsenic in food have been linked to different types of cancer and other health problems.

Some facts about arsenic

Arsenic shares many toxic features with the other heavy metals like mercury and lead. Its toxicity is due to the fact that it impairs many cell enzymes which affect metabolism and DNA repair. Arsenic is excreted in urine but can also accumulate in many body tissues, such as bones and fat tissue.Chronic arsenic exposure through drinking water (and now rice) leads to an increase in mortality which is directly related to the dose of arsenic exposure.

Considering the high toxic load we are all subject to, the body might have problems detoxifying and eliminating arsenic, so once it gets in, it’s very difficult to get it out.

Gentle detoxification with the HEEL Detox Formula (something I wrote about in this article) might be a way to stimulate its removal from body tissues. However, once detoxification is under way, circulating blood levels of arsenic might cause worrying symptoms. It’s tricky area of toxicology. But who wants to walk around with worrying levels of arsenic on their bum?