Concerning levels of arsenic found in rice - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Concerning levels of arsenic found in rice

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(KATV) - A new study finds a concerning amount of arsenic in rice.

Consumer reports tested more than 200 samples and found measurable amounts of arsenic in all of them. The study has many people wondering whether or not the product is safe to eat.

The magazine did the study in everything from popular store brands to lesser known organic products and all contained the potentially harmful chemical. But despite these findings health experts and farmers insist their crops are harmless.

"We've been eating this rice and growing it for a long time so it's nothing new. It doesn't concern me at all," said Dow Brantley, Partner at Brantley Farming Company.

Dow Brantley, a rice farm owner, received news this morning that he has been growing a product that may have dangerous levels of arsenic in it. He admits there is arsenic but it is all natural, nothing he has putting in.

"The products we use--herbicides, insecticides--to control weeds and insects in our crops have no arsenic in them so there is absolutely nothing that we're using to contribute to this," said Brantley.

It is a message the Rice Federation has made a top priority to get out to the public. And rightfully so, with the rice industry bringing in over a billion dollars a year there is a lot to lose.

"That's what we're out there reminding folks is that arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is in the air we breathe, that's in the water we drink, that's out there in the rocks and the soil," said Gabe Holmstrom, Spokesman for the Arkansas Rice Federation.

But nutritionists say that both sides may be right. Arsenic is natural but too much of it can be deadly.

"I would say in moderation allowing your body to get rid of it does not build up once in a while is okay," said David Rath, a nutritionist.

But Brantley says regardless of what officials and experts say he will continue to do what his family has been doing for generations.

"I'm going to go to bed at night sleep well and I'm going to continue to eat rice, consume rice and not only me, my family as well," said Brantley.

The FDA is saying that consumers should not stop eating rice but they do encourage people to diversify their diet.

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