Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Organic foods may be an unsuspected source of dietary arsenic

16.02.2012
As people seek healthier dietary regimens they often turn to things labeled "organic." Lurking in the background, however, is an ingredient that may be a hidden source of arsenic—an element known to be both toxic and potentially carcinogenic.

Organic brown rice syrup has become a preferred alternative to using high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener in food. High fructose corn syrup has been criticized as a highly processed substance that is more harmful than sugar and is a substantial contributor to epidemic obesity. Unfortunately, organic brown rice syrup is not without its faults.

Dartmouth researchers and others have previously called attention to the potential for consuming harmful levels of arsenic via rice, and organic brown rice syrup may be the latest culprit on the scene.

With the introduction of organic brown rice syrup into food processing, even the savvy consumer may unknowingly be ingesting arsenic. Recognizing the danger, Brian Jackson and other Dartmouth researchers conducted a study to determine the concentrations of arsenic in commercial food products containing organic brown rice syrup including infant formula, cereal/energy bars, and high-energy foods used by endurance athletes.

The results were alarming. One of the infant formulas had a total arsenic concentration of six times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) safe drinking water limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) for total arsenic. Cereal bars and high-energy foods using organic brown rice syrup also had higher arsenic concentrations than those without the syrup.

Jackson,director of the Trace Element Analysis Core Facility at Dartmouth and a member of the college's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) ‑funded Superfund Research Program, is lead author on the study published February 16, 2012, in Environmental Health Perspectives. His collaborators include researchers in Dartmouth's EPA and NIEHS‑funded Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center.

Jackson and his colleagues purchased commercial food products containing organic brown rice syrup and compared them with similar products that didn't contain the syrup. Seventeen infant formulas, 29 cereal bars, and 3 energy "shots" were all purchased from local stores in the Hanover, N.H., area.

Of the 17 infant milk formulas tested, only two had listed organic brown rice syrup as the primary ingredient. These two formulas, one dairy-based and one soy-based, were extremely high in arsenic, more than 20 times greater than the other formulas. The amount of inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form, averaged 8.6 ppb for the dairy based formula and 21.4 ppb for the soy formula.

This is of concern because these concentrations are comparable to, or greater than, the current U.S. drinking water limit of 10 ppb, and that limit does not account for the low body weight of infants and the corresponding increase in arsenic consumption per kilogram of body weight.

The Dartmouth researchers also tested 29 cereal bars and three types (flavors) of an energy product obtained from a supermarket. Twenty-two of the bars listed at least one of four rice products—organic brown rice syrup, rice flour, rice grain, and rice flakes—in the first five ingredients. The cereal bars ranged from 8 to 128 ppb in total arsenic; those that had no rice ingredients were lowest in arsenic and ranged from 8 to 27 ppb, while those that did contain a rice ingredient ranged from 23 to 128 ppb total arsenic.

With recent news coverage of the potential for rice to contain arsenic, educated consumers may be aware that cereal/energy bars containing rice ingredients could also contain arsenic.

The authors note that, "By contrast the energy shots are gel-like blocks and, like the infant formulas, it would not be immediately apparent to the consumer that these too are rice-based products." One of the three flavors of energy shots tested revealed about 84 ppb total arsenic (100 percent inorganic arsenic), while the other two showed 171 ppb total arsenic (53 percent inorganic arsenic).

Jackson and his colleagues conclude that in the face of the increasing prevalence of hidden arsenic in food, and the absence of U. S. regulations in this area, "there is an urgent need for regulatory limits on arsenic in food."

Justin Anderson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design
09.08.2018 | Scripps Research Institute

nachricht Distrust of power influences choice of medical procedures
01.08.2018 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

Im Focus: World record: Fastest 3-D tomographic images at BESSY II

The quality of materials often depends on the manufacturing process. In casting and welding, for example, the rate at which melts solidify and the resulting microstructure of the alloy is important. With metallic foams as well, it depends on exactly how the foaming process takes place. To understand these processes fully requires fast sensing capability. The fastest 3D tomographic images to date have now been achieved at the BESSY II X-ray source operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Dr. Francisco Garcia-Moreno and his team have designed a turntable that rotates ultra-stably about its axis at a constant rotational speed. This really depends...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

'Building up' stretchable electronics to be as multipurpose as your smartphone

14.08.2018 | Information Technology

During HIV infection, antibody can block B cells from fighting pathogens

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

First study on physical properties of giant cancer cells may inform new treatments

14.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>