Arsenic in rice milk. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.wholechildwellness.com/news-ricedrinks.htm

I can't bring myself to read this. Perhaps someone else can look and tell me if I need to be concerned - we live off of Rice Dream.

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#2 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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I think you should read it and discern for yourself.
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#3 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Rice and rice products have been known to contain higher levels of inorganic arsenic than found in other foods... Many of the rice drinks had levels that exceed the US EPAstandard for maximum arsenic contaminant level in drinking water, which is currently set at 10 parts per billion. This study was performed in England by the UK Food Standards Agency, and found that the average concentration in rice drinks of total arsenic was 23 parts per billion, and inorganic arsenic was 12 parts per billion. Rice Dream, Promavel, Lima, and Balance Foods were among the products that were sampled.
http://www.food.gov.uk/science/surve...009/survey0209
It seems important. Sorry. Now I want to know more.

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#4 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 07:06 PM
 
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Well... I guess that's one more reason to pay a few extra cents per container for DS1 to have almond milk.

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#5 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you should read it and discern for yourself.
Yeah, maybe. I have friends in this forum whose judgment I trust. This news is very upsetting to me as we've already given up wheat and all forums of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, peas and chocolate. And I don't want to face giving up rice milk. So I'm looking to my peeps here in this forum for a little help, support and possible insight rather than delve right in right now.

Thanks,
Tracy

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#6 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 07:18 PM
 
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I find stuff like this so disheartening. I do not want to have to scour the Internet to learn whether food is safe for us to consume. How can we have a level of confidence that we're nourishing our kids with what we provide to them? Going the no-processed-foods route, completely, is really difficult, and in itself a reaction to having no confidence, though I haven't looked into the amount of arsenic in non-organic rice either--heard it may be an issue, deliberately decided not to quantify it because my brain will explode.

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#7 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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I read the summary in full and skimmed the complete study pdf.

Here's my synopsis:

Rice bioaccumulates arsenic because it is grown in a water environment, unlike other grains.

The study speculates that older children and adults would not have to change their diets in light of this.

But that infants and toddlers risk accumulating arsenic at a 4x greater level, because more of their diets include milk (substitutes).

HTH!

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#8 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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I read it too. Now I'm not so worried about DD2 drinking more rice milk and smoothies instead of all the rice milk she had been drinking. We don't use it in baking because DS can't have rice (good thing) but that leaves ONLY coconut milk as an alternative. I'm coming to the conclusion that everything is bad for us, some worse than others. But is anything completely benign?

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#9 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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A. I think its clear the arsenic problem is with rice, not just rice milk. Other sources of arsenic are conventionally grown chicken and non-organic hijiki.

B. Here is a link to a page about arsenic v. folate and cysteine levels. Very interesting, especially in context of the whole detox conversation in this forum.
http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/..._toxicity.html

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#10 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 11:21 PM
 
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great. This type of information is so disheartening.

Thank you for the summary, mtn.mama.

DS won't drink rice milk, anyway, although we had been trying. I use it on cereal and in pancakes (that DS eats). Just bought my first container of hemp milk this morning, so maybe we'll switch.

DS, 10/07. Allergies: peanut, egg, wheat. We've added dairy back in. And taken it back out again. It causes sandpaper skin with itchy patches and thrashing during sleep. Due w/ #2 late April, 2012.

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#11 of 41 Old 07-07-2009, 11:25 PM
 
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ugh i hate reading threads like this.

nothing is safe.

we are a suicidal species!

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#12 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 12:22 AM
 
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You could make your own. This issue came up before and I emailed Lundberg about it and they assured me their rice is safe. Here's the thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...php?p=10771522 I wish I'd saved the email but I can't find it.


ETA: iirc, someone emailed Rice Dream about it and they said they were safe, too, but I don't have any more info than that.
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#13 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 07:43 AM
 
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Our hospital dietician phoned us with the news yesterday. We are based in the UK so rice milk is now not recommended at all for children under 5 here .
As rice milk did make up a large part of dd's diet we now are forced to look at other options. i have ordered some raw milk if that doesnt suit then we will try oat milk

xxx
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#14 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 09:59 AM
 
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Since Lundberg claims to be okay, is arsenic really a problem because of the pest control measures being used on the rice? So, then is all organic rice okay?

ETA: They only sampled a few rice milks in England, and none of the ones DH uses over here. It's definitely not an exhaustive study. Looks like they tested:
Provamel (organic)
Rice Dream
Kallo (organic)
Rice & Easy
Probios (organic)
The Bridge - Bio (organic)
Tesco Healthy Living
Lima (organic)

The ones I haven't listed as organic, I'm not sure if they are or not. So anyway, it looks like the problem does occur in organic brands.

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#15 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 02:15 PM
 
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No, I disagree.

The problem is not with pest control measures, it has to do with the aquatic environment. Arsenic is naturally occurring in many soils around the world, especially in the US.

The study clearly showed that organic is equally affected.

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#16 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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Hook me up to the IV!

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#17 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 04:36 PM
 
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OK, now here's the truly relevent question:

We all know that arsenic, in high enough concentrations, is a poison. Now we know that arsenic is being found in rice milk. But do we know for certain that the form of arsenic found in the rice milk is dangerous, in the concentrations it's found in?

Is it truly a problem if levels in rice milk are higher than the allowed amount in tap water? Think about it for a minute: tap water is absorbed through the skin in baths/showers and handwashing. It's used in cooking. It's the foundation of all other beverages (tea, juice made from concentrate, soups, etc) or drunk directly. We "consume" quite a bit of tap water daily, and not JUST what we drink directly.

Is the total amount of arsenic in the rice milk high enough to be problematic, once you've considered how much rice milk is consumed per day? Is this particular form of arsenic dangerous, or is it in a form that's easily excreted from the body?

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#18 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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I feel like Ruthla, and until there's more information, I'm not going to worry about it.
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#19 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 04:45 PM
 
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If you read the studies, these questions are clearly answered.
Yes, its toxic, depending on your body weight and how much you consume in a day. 8 oz a day for a toddler is 4x too much.

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#20 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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Wugmama - turtle hill makes a great coconut milk product with no allergens!

I use it in everything!

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#21 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn.mama View Post
If you read the studies, these questions are clearly answered.
Yes, its toxic, depending on your body weight and how much you consume in a day. 8 oz a day for a toddler is 4x too much.
No. 16oz a day is 4X too much for toddlers, so 8oz a day would only be 2X too much. I deduce from this that it would be OK to feed rice milk to a toddler in very small quantities- say, use it in cooking and feed that food to toddlers, or use 1 or 2oz in a bowl of cereal, but it shouldn't be used in large quantities as a milk replacement.

It also says that it's perfectly fine for anybody over the age of 4.5. I wish they'd been a little more specific about "safe levels" for kids of various ages and weights, but this study seemed to be focusing mostly on toddlers.

Since my youngest child is 7.5 years old, and we only use rice milk as a "treat" (no more than about a cup a day, and more likely an ounce or so in a cup of coffee or hot cocoa) I don't need to worry about these findings or change anything in my own kitchen.

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#22 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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One (of several) things that is frustrating is that this is really bad news for a subsection of the population. I mean yes, it looks like drinking as much rice milk as most people consume in cow's milk will significantly increase the total dietary intake of arsenic (especially inorganic, the more toxic form), moreso for little kids because proportionately they drink more milk than adults, but some people are avoiding dairy because they have mercury issues, and mercury and arsenic are excreted in basically the same way from our bodies. We've only used rice milk periodically for baking, but with our issues, I don't want to touch the stuff anymore, I already know we've got too much arsenic. Did I mention I'm frustrated? Nothing is simple.

The more complete report is pretty interesting, they have quite thorough tables at the end with all their measured data. Pretty cool (in a sick way).
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#23 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 08:58 PM
 
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Something occurred to me today as I ate my rice pasta at dinner:

The problem is with arsenic in rice milk because it's present in rice itself, not because it's added in processing. This means that there's probably just as much arsenic in other forms of rice, such as plain old cooked rice, rice pasta, infant rice cereal, etc. It seems that many peds are pressuring parents to feed rice cereal to previously EBF babies. Will they stop recomending rice cereal for infants in light of this new information? Or keep on pushing the processed mush with added iron while only demonizing the rice beverages?

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#24 of 41 Old 07-08-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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Yes, yes, yes! This is it exactly! Its in the rice. An adult has to eat 4.5 cups combined rice products a day to hit toxicity. Much smaller amounts for little ones...

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#25 of 41 Old 07-09-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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I think the other issue is that toddlers consume a lot more rice in rice milk form than you would otherwise take in... I know toddlers who have gone from formula to alternative milks that are drinking 24-32 oz of the stuff. No kid eats that much rice (I don't think!!).

However, there were days on my ED I might have come close to 4.5 cups of rice - just one more reason to consume all things in moderation, I guess.

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#26 of 41 Old 07-09-2009, 12:46 AM
 
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(and remember to factor in other sources of arsenic... drinking water, non-organic poultry, seaweeds...)

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#27 of 41 Old 07-09-2009, 12:49 AM
 
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So, the real concern is if you're giving it to your child as a drink. I wouldn't think that cooking with it (I'm thinking of something like pancakes) would be a big deal.

The thing I wonder about is people who eat rice as part of their traditional diet (Japan, China, etc.). I have Japanese friends who eat/ate rice at every meal at home and not small amounts. Wouldn't the whole population be arsenic-toxic? Of course, their babies aren't drinking rice milk, but from the toddler years on up, it's lots of rice every single day.
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#28 of 41 Old 07-09-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chinese Pistache View Post
The thing I wonder about is people who eat rice as part of their traditional diet (Japan, China, etc.). I have Japanese friends who eat/ate rice at every meal at home and not small amounts. Wouldn't the whole population be arsenic-toxic? Of course, their babies aren't drinking rice milk, but from the toddler years on up, it's lots of rice every single day.
I would guess that part of it is how well your diet supports clearing arsenic. Same with eating fish - how well does your body clear the mercury, whatever... So traditional diets with lots of rice, but also healthy fats, veggies, fermented foods, might handle the arsenic fine - but toddlers here fed the typical American diet, or toddlers struggling with gut issues already, might not fare as well?

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#29 of 41 Old 07-09-2009, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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From BonnieNova:
Quote:
Wugmama - turtle hill makes a great coconut milk product with no allergens!

I use it in everything!
I'm on it, thanks!!!


~Tracy

Rockin' mama to Allison (9), Asher (5) and Alethea (3), head over heels in love with my sexy husband, Tony.

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#30 of 41 Old 07-10-2009, 03:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamafish9 View Post
I think the other issue is that toddlers consume a lot more rice in rice milk form than you would otherwise take in... I know toddlers who have gone from formula to alternative milks that are drinking 24-32 oz of the stuff. No kid eats that much rice (I don't think!!).
Apparently you never met my son! He could completely fill up on a bowlful of brown rice or rice pasta if I let him, even when he was a toddler.

I still don't feel that I know enough to act on this information. Nowhere do I see a chart of "this much rice is safe for a person who weighs this much". Nor do I have any information about the safety of alternative grains. If I replace brown rice with millet, am I avoiding toxins or just substituting one toxin for another?

I also know of real health risks to me if I consume corn, or if I'm exposed to wheat products at all. Are there any rice free, corn free, gluten free pastas out there? All the gluten-free pastas I've seen, except for the brown rice ones, contained some amount of corn. At this point, the rice pasta still seems like the safest choice for my family.

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