Arsenic consequences on human health

Human health affected by arsenic: Rice (Oryza sativa) is an 2nd staple crop in Pakistan as respect to wheat. It is consider the kharif crop of Pakistan. Rice is an important source of carbohydrate.

Arsenic consequences on human health

100 gram of rice contain 28g carbohydrate and 2.7 g protein.1 cup of white rice contain 45g of carbohydrate and 4.3g of protein. Rice account 2.7% of value added in agriculture and 0.7 % in GDP.

Rice provide 21% of global human per capita energy and 15% of per capita protein. Rice is mainly grown in Punjab and Sindh where mostly farmer rely on rice cultivation. Pakistan export rice to UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Afghanistan.

Accumulation of Arsenic in Rice

Arsenic is a toxic element, two type of compound are arsenic, first is organic arsenic and second is inorganic arsenic. Organic arsenic mainly found in plant and animal tissue while inorganic arsenic found in rock or soil and dissolved in water.

Inorganic arsenic is a toxic compound as compared to organic arsenic. Rice accumulate a significant amount of inorganic arsenic from the environment. In fact, rice is the highest source of inorganic arsenic which is toxic to human.

Inorganic arsenic in rice product

High level of inorganic arsenic are found in many rice products, such as;

  • Rice milk
  • Rice bran
  • Rice-based breakfast cereals
  • Rice cereal(baby rice)
  • Rice crackers
  • Brown rice syrup

Paddy rice is more accumulation of arsenic. Rice is a water loving crop and it require high amount of water for proper growing and water contain arsenic transfer to rice, which is dangerous to human health.

Effect of Arsenic on human health

 Due to inorganic arsenic various problem are produced which concern human health such as; various type of cancer, high blood pressure (hypertension), Narrowing or blockage of blood vessels of human, heart disease problem and various type 2 diabetes are produced in human due to inorganic arsenic.

How to Mitigate Arsenic

 There are several method to mitigate the arsenic from rice. First of all, we shall washed and and cooked the rice content with clean water, which cause low amount of arsenic in rice. We shall use plenty of water for cooking of rice.

Washing of rice can decrease 10-28% of the arsenic. White rice are good for cooking as compared to brown rice because high amount of arsenic in brown rice. For this purpose, choose aromatic rice, such as basmati.


Adoption of all measures related to arsenic then we shall reduce the arsenic concentration in rice.

Authors: Arslan Ali, Muhammad Maqsood Bajwa, Saddam Hussain, Usman Zulifqar, Umair Rasool Azmi

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