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Health hazard during pregnancy: arsenic in rice
Health risk from rice. Scientists from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover (USA) found that half a cup of rice a day already meets the WHO limit for arsenic in drinking water. This is a great danger, especially for babies in the womb.
One cup of rice a day increases the arsenic value significantly
The scientists examined the urine of 229 women, half of whom ate little or no rice and the other half a normal amount of rice from the supermarket. The amount of arsenic excreted in the urine was then used to draw conclusions about the exposure of the test subjects.
The scientists commented on the result as follows: "Based on the measured arsenic value, half a cup of rice per day was sufficient to give arsenic levels similar to drinking a liter of water with ten micrograms of arsenic - the WHO limit value." China has already set a limit value for arsenic in food, there is no such value in Europe and the USA. Diane Gilbert-Diamond from Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover and her colleagues report: "While drinking water has long been known as a potential source of arsenic contamination, data is only now showing that food can also contain substantial amounts of arsenic."
Why does rice contain arsenic? Arsenic occurs in low, very different concentrations in practically every soil on earth. When the rice plant picks up the arsenic from the ground, it stores it in the rice grain, among other things. If people eat the rice, the arsenic also gets into the human body. Since the arsenic load on the soil and also on the rice plants is very different, it is difficult to determine a specific load for the end user.
Increased health risk for fetuses Since the researchers found that the test subjects who regularly eat rice had significantly higher arsenic levels in their urine, pregnant women in particular are potentially very at risk. The researchers report that the health consequences of arsenic exposure for women are still unclear. However, the burden on fetuses poses a major health risk. Diane Gilbert-Diamond and her colleagues comment on this as follows: "Embryonic development is a phase that is particularly sensitive to arsenic poisoning." The researchers also report that children who already increased in the womb Were exposed to arsenic levels, are smaller at birth and have a weakened immune system. The risk of developing lung cancer is also increased.
Arsenic poisoning If arsenic poisoning even occurs, it can be fatal. Among other things, there are cramps, internal bleeding, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. As a result, kidney and circulatory failure can occur. (ag)
Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de