Arsenic in rice: I. Estimating normal levels of total arsenic in rice grain

Environ Sci Technol. 2008 May 15;42(10):3856-60. doi: 10.1021/es702747y.


High levels of arsenic (As) in rice grain are a potential concern for human health. Variability in total As in rice was evaluated using 204 commercial rice samples purchased mostly in retail stores in upstate New York and supplemented with samples from Canada, France, Venezuela, and other countries. Total As concentration in rice varied from 0.005 to 0.710 mg kg(-1). We combined our data set with literature values to derive a global "normal" range of 0.08-0.20 mg kg(-1) for As concentration in rice. The mean As concentrations for rice from the U.S. and Europe (both 0.198 mg kg(-1)) were statistically similar and significantly higher than rice from Asia (0.07 mg kg(-1)). Using two large data sets from Bangladesh, we showed that As contaminated irrigation water, but not soil, led to increased grain As concentration. Wide variability found in U.S. rice grain was primarily influenced by region of growth rather than commercial type, with rice grown in Texas and Arkansas having significantly higher mean As concentrations than that from California (0.258 and 0.190 versus 0.133 mg kg(-1)). Rice from one Texas distributor was especially high, with 75% of the samples above the global "normal" range, suggesting production in an As contaminated environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods


  • Soil Pollutants
  • Arsenic