A Comprehensive Review of Arsenic Exposure and Risk from Rice and a Risk Assessment among a Cohort of Adolescents in Kunming, China

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Oct 8;15(10):2191. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15102191.


Inorganic arsenic (iAs) is carcinogenic and highly concentrated in rice. Dietary exposure to iAs is concerning among adolescents due to their developmental stage and iAs's long-latency effects. This paper aimed to assess iAs exposure from rice and related lifetime cancer risks (LCR) among adolescents in Kunming, China. A comprehensive literature review of iAs levels in rice and LCR in humans was also conducted. Average daily consumption of rice (ADC) was estimated from 267 adolescents (15⁻18 years). Rice samples obtained from 6 markets were analyzed for iAs concentration (AC). Estimated daily intake (EDI) of iAs was calculated using ADC, AC, and average body weight (BW). Lifetime Cancer Risk (LCR) was calculated using EDI and U.S. EPA derived iAs oral slope factor. The AC was 0.058 mg/kg and the average BW and ADC were 67.5 kg and 410 g/day for males and 55.5 kg and 337 g/day for females. The EDI and LCR were 3.52 × 10-4 mg/kg-BW/day and 5.28 × 10-4 for both males and females, with LCR 5 times above the U.S. LCR upper limit of 1.0 × 10-4. While the AC was below the Chinese maximum contaminant level of 0.2 mg/kg, study results indicated that Kunming adolescents may be at increased risk for iAs-related cancers.

Keywords: Asia; China; adolescents; arsenic; cancer; concentration; diet; exposure; rice; risk assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Carcinogens / analysis*
  • Carcinogens / toxicity*
  • China
  • Cohort Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oryza / chemistry*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Carcinogens
  • Arsenic