What is arsenic, and what does it do to the human body?
Arsenic is an element found in nature, and in man-made products, including some pesticides and also Insecticides (as mentioned here).
It can also be found in food that you’ve probably eaten at least once!
Don’t worry, whilst Arsenic can be found in food, most arsenic is excreted by the body during urination.
There are two types of arsenic: inorganic and organic.
Inorganic arsenic has been classified as a human carcinogen (can be harmful) by the EPA (U.S Environmental Protection Agency).
The FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration) describes organic, or naturally-occurring arsenic as “essentially harmless.”
Whilst the food is SAFE to eat, they shouldn’t be consumed every day.
Here are 5 common foods that contain Arsenic:
Rice appears to be particularly vulnerable to arsenic contamination because it grows in water.
Studies by Scottish researchers have found higher levels of arsenic in rice grown in the U.S. than in basmati or jasmine rice from Thailand or India.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Despite the fact that these vegetables are among the healthiest you can eat, Dr. Cottingham’s research, along with others studies, note that inorganic arsenic that exists in soil is highly attracted to sulfur compounds in brussels sprouts, along with other cruciferous vegetables, including kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Arsenic levels in regular sprout eaters were 10.4% higher than in people who never ate them or ate them less than once a month.
3. Beer and wine
In the Dartmouth study, men who had 2.5 beers per day had arsenic levels more than 30% higher than nonconsumers, and women who drank five to six glasses of wine per week had levels 20% higher than nonconsumers.
The arsenic may be coming from the water used to brew these beverages, but beer and wine producers also use a filtration material, diatomaceous earth, that’s know to harbor arsenic.
4. Tuna Fish
People who ate dark-meat fish like Tuna, Salmon and sardines once a week had a 7 percent higher arsenic level compared to those who ate dark-meat fish less than once a month.
5. Apple Juice
Arsenic in apple juice. It’s a scary statement — one that’s received a lot of attention in recent years, although some say the concern is unwarranted.
Michael Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, wrote on the government agency’s blog.
“Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment and may be found in the air, soil and water.
It is commonly found in harmless, trace amounts in many crops and naturally sourced foods. Humans have been exposed to it for thousands of years.”
Whilst all these foods are common and safe to eat, researchers say “Probably the best way to avoid over-exposure from diet is to mix it up in the foods, and not eat the same thing every day.”