Arsenic Levels in Brown Rice Ingredients

 Is there arsenic or heavy metals in the brown rice ingredients?

Rice products tend to be naturally high in heavy metals and arsenic. According to California Prop 65 rules and regulations, our vegan protein bar with organic rice protein must display a Prop 65 warning.

 Why is INORGANIC arsenic the one considered a risk?

  • This research on inorganic arsenic is the basis for California adding inorganic arsenic to their list of known risks. Note that chicken and fish are sited as having more arsenic risk than rice and that the average diet includes as much as 1,000 micrograms of ORGANIC arsenic per day.
  • The study sites that the EPA set an acceptable level of 10ppb (parts per billion) of arsenic in water, assuming that the majority of arsenic in water is inorganic, thus a higher risk than the organic arsenic found in rice.
What is Dartmouth’s study on arsenic in brown rice products, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives?
  • This study published February 2012 can be found here. It is one in a series of studies looking at arsenic levels in food. The stated goal of the study is to encourage the FDA to set regulations for arsenic levels in food, which we agree with. Unfortunately, the study has resulted in misunderstandings and unnecessary fear among consumers because:
  • it doesn’t fully address the difference between inorganic arsenic (which poses a health risk) vs. organic arsenic (which is not known to pose a health risk and is actually needed in low levels by the human body as noted here
  • it compares the levels of arsenic to incomparable regulations set by the EPA for consumption of 8 glasses of water per day, which far exceeds any amount of brown rice any consumer would ever expect to consume each day.
Why do bars containing rice products have higher heavy metal or arsenic level than our products?
  • Our ingredients are not grown in Pakistan, where the majority of brown rice syrup is imported from and where there are higher levels of naturally occurring arsenic in the water and soil
  • We follow Good Manufacturing Practices, utilize testing at multiple points of production from seed to shelf including 3rd parties and the FDA, and we take all appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of our products with regard to heavy metals as well as other potential contaminants. Our vegan protein bar with brown rice protein contains the necessary warnings as required by California Prop 65 rulings: This product may contain a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, or birth defects, or other reproductive harm
  • We also have another version of organic vegan protein bar that is VERY LOW in heavy metals containing protein sources from certified organic Canadian pea and Pumpkin
California Prop 65
    • According to California’s regulations under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (commonly referred to as “Prop 65”, which is significantly stricter than the FDA on many levels), there is a “Safe Harbor” list of two classes of chemicals: those that cause reproductive toxicity and those that are considered carcinogens.
    • - The table of “no significant risk levels” for carcinogens lists only inorganic arsenic and does not recognize organic arsenic as a potential for risk.
    • In addition, Prop 65’s requirements are based on exposure, not concentration. The regulations state that human consumption of food does not constitute “exposure” for purposes of warning notification under the Act to the extent that chemicals are naturally-occurring in agricultural products, were not added by any known human activity, and were not avoidable by good agricultural or good manufacturing practices [Title 27, California Code of Regulations, Section 25501(3)(1)].
    • This product may contain a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer, or birth defects, or other reproductive harm