Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup

By Jackson, Brian P.; Taylor, Vivien F. et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, May 2012 | Go to article overview

Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup


Jackson, Brian P., Taylor, Vivien F., Karagas, Margaret R., Punshon, Tracy, Cottingham, Kathryn L., Environmental Health Perspectives


BACKGROUND: Rice can be a major source of inorganic arsenic ([As.sub.i]) for many subpopulations. Rice products are also used as ingredients in prepared foods, some of which may not be obviously rice based. Organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) is used as a sweetener in organic food products as an alternative to high-fructose corn syrup. We hypothesized that OBRS introduces As into these products.

OBJECTIVE: We determined the concentration and speciation of As in commercially available brown rice syrups and in products containing OBRS, including toddler formula, cereal/energy bars, and high-energy foods used by endurance athletes.

METHODS: We used inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and ion chromatography coupled to ICP-MS to determine total As ([As.sub.total]) concentrations and As speciation in products purchased via the Internet or in stores in the Hanover, New Hampshire, area.

DISCUSSION: We found that OBRS can contain high concentrations of As; and dimethylarsenate (DMA). An "organic" toddler milk formula containing OBRS as the primary ingredient had [As.sub.total] concentrations up to six times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safe drinking water limit. Cereal bars and high-energy foods containing OBRS also had higher As concentrations than equivalent products that did not contain OBRS. [As.sub.i] was the main As species in most food products tested in this study.

CONCLUSIONS: There are currently no U.S. regulations applicable to As in food, but our findings suggest that the OBRS products we evaluated may introduce significant concentrations of [As.sub.i] into an individual's diet. Thus, we conclude that there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on As in food.

KEY WORDS: arsenic, baby formula, brown rice syrup, cereal bars, energy bars, organic foods, speciation. Environ Health Perspect 120:623-626 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104619 [Online 16 February 2012]

Arsenic (As) is an established carcinogen based on studies of populations consuming contaminated drinking water (Smith et al. 2002). Recently, attention has focused on As exposure from food, in particular fruit juices (Rock 2012) and rice (Stone 2008). Rice may contain As in total concentrations up to 100-400 ng/g, including both inorganic As ([As.sub.i]) and the organic species dimethylarsenate (DMA) (Williams et al. 2005), with much lower concentrations (relative to DMA) of monomethylarsenate (MMA) also occasionally detected. Total As ([As.sub.total]) in rice and relative proportions of DMA and As; differ both geographically (Meharg et al. 2009) and as a function of genetic and environmental controls (Norton et al. 2009).

[As.sub.i] is more toxic than DMA or MMA (Le et al. 2000), and food regulatory limits, where they exist, are based on [As.sub.i]. Infants fed rice cereal at least once daily may exceed the daily As exposure limit of 0.17 [micro]g/kg body weight per day based on drinking water standards (Meharg et al. 2008b). Rice products such as cereals and crackers (Sun et al. 2009) and rice drinks (Meharg et al. 2008a) are potentially significant dietary sources of As. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable because their dietary As exposure per kilogram of body weight is 2-3 times higher than that of adults [European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) 2009].

DMA is a metabolite of [As.sub.i]. Although considered less toxic than [As.sub.i], its toxicological potential has not been studied extensively. The presence of DMA in rice is likely due to natural soil microbial processes; however, DMA was used as a pesticide before being banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2009 (U.S. EPA 2009). Organic food consumers may therefore object to its presence in organic foods even in the absence of direct evidence of human health effects of DMA.

In the United States, organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) is used as a sweetener as a healthier alternative to high-fructose corn syrup in products aimed at the "organic foods" market. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arsenic, Organic Foods, and Brown Rice Syrup
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.