Arsenic species in raw and cooked rice: implications for human health in rural Bengal

Sci Total Environ. 2014 Nov 1;497-498:200-208. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.07.075. Epub 2014 Aug 14.


This study compares the concentrations of total and different species of arsenic (As) in 29 pairs of raw and cooked rice samples collected from households in an area of West Bengal affected by endemic arsenicism. The aim is to investigate the effects of indigenous cooking practice of the rural villagers on As accumulation and speciation in cooked rice. It is found that inorganic As is the predominant species in both raw (93.8%) and cooked rice (88.1%). Cooking of rice with water low in As (<10 μg L(-1)) significantly decreases the total and inorganic As content in cooked rice compared to raw rice. Arsenic concentration is mainly decreased during boiling of rice grains with excess water. Washing of rice grains with low As water has negligible effect on grain As concentration. The study suggests that rice cooking with low As water by the villagers is a beneficial risk reduction strategy. Despite reductions in As content in cooked rice because of cooking with low As water, the consumption of cooked rice represents a significant health threat (in terms of chronic As toxicity) to the study population.

Keywords: Arsenic speciation; Cooked rice; Daily intake; Health risk assessment; Raw rice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Arsenic Poisoning
  • Cooking
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Soil Pollutants / analysis*


  • Soil Pollutants
  • Arsenic