New research from the Department of Creating Concern has found that people who eat more rice have elevated levels of arsenic in their bodies. This bodes especially poorly for pregnant women and people who enjoy nothing more than a big bowl of rice washed down by a glass of arsenic-laden apple juice. If you do this, please stop. While this flavor combination make make you feel unbelievably nutritionally fortified, ensuing slow and painful death will follow you like a thief in the night.
CBS reports that the study measured arsenic levels in the urine of pregnant women in New Hampshire. Study participants were asked to provide a drinking water sample and write down everything they'd eaten in the three days prior to the pee test. Even when accounting for arsenic levels in drinking water, researchers found that rice eaters had slightly higher levels of inorganic arsenic in their urine. Apparently inorganic arsenic is the "bad" kind of arsenic, the kind that's toxic in high levels. In other news, there's such thing as arsenic that isn't the "bad" kind.
Women who ate only half a cup of rice per day had the same levels of inorganic arsenic levels as someone who had drank an entire liter of tap water that contains the maximum amount of arsenic allowed by the EPA. Each gram of rice consumed by the women (about 48 grains) raised their arsenic levels by 1%. And with that, food surpasses both Condoleeza and Jerry in the global ranking of the most dangerous Rices.
Arsenic exposure is worrisome for pregnant women, as the chemical can permeate the placenta and harm a developing fetus. Side effects of prenatal arsenic exposure include miscarriage, low birth weight, and infant mortality.
Researchers and rice growers are urging that we take these findings with a grain of salt; women involved in the study didn't have nearly enough arsenic in their bodies to cause miscarriage, and the effects of arsenic buildup in the body are cumulative and gradual. Going out and gorging on maki rolls tonight won't cause you to wake up tomorrow a feeble fading Napoleon Bonaparte circa Saint Helena.
Why is it that so many of the chemicals we choose to use in pesticides and industrial chemicals cause birth defects and so few cause spontaneous development of super powers? This reflects poorly on the foresight of chemists. Further, if every damn food is going to kill us, then what's the use in trying to be eat healthy foods? Let's all just go back to eating barbecue Bugles dipped in ranch dressing like before.