- Rice contains about 10-20 times more arsenic than other cereal crops as it grows under flooded conditions.
- Arsenic occurs naturally in soil, and inorganic arsenic is classified as a category one carcinogen.
- Soaking rice overnight and cooking one part rice with five parts of water reduces arsenic content.
Dangerous levels of arsenic in rice may remain intact when it is cooked without soaking.
The conventional way of cooking rice, which involves boiling it in a pan and letting the water steam out, may not be enough to prevent traces of arsenic from being eliminated. The poison is known to manifest in rice due to pesticides and other related industrial toxins used when it is being grown.
‘Data from the Institute for Global Security, shows that close to 60 percent of all U.K. rice-based products have high levels of arsenic.’
Arsenic occurs naturally in soil, and inorganic arsenic is classified as a category one carcinogen by the EU, meaning that it's known to cause cancer in humans.
Rice is grown under flooded conditions. This makes the arsenic locked in the soil more readily available, meaning that more can be absorbed into the rice grains.
Arsenic is known to be carcinogenic and rice is something which cannot be looked over. So, one possible solution is to find a better method of cooking which leaches arsenic.
Queens University Belfast professor of biological sciences Andy Meharg tested three methods of cooking rice to determine which methods would have arsenic remaining in the rice.
One was the conventional "steaming out" method, using two parts water and one part rice. Second, using five parts water and one part rice and washing off the excess water, and the final method where the rice was left soaked overnight.
When using the "steaming out" technique, Meharg discovered that this left most of the arsenic in the rice. The second method where more water was used saw arsenic levels cut into half, while the process of soaking the rice overnight reduced the poison's levels by about 80 percent.
Meharg believes that the best thing to do would be to soak the rice overnight, wash and rinse it until the water is clear, drain the water, and boil the rice in a saucepan with the aforementioned five parts water/one part rice ratio.