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Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Apr 3;46(7):4142-8. doi: 10.1021/es204298a. Epub 2012 Mar 14.

Consumption of brown rice: a potential pathway for arsenic exposure in rural Bengal.

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KTH-International Groundwater Arsenic Research Group, Department of Land and Water Resources Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.


This study assesses the arsenic (As) accumulation in different varieties of rice grain, that people in rural Bengal mostly prefer for daily consumption, to estimate the potential risk of dietary As exposure through rice intake. The rice samples have been classified according to their average length (L) and L to breadth (B) ratio into four categories, such as short-bold (SB), medium-slender (MS), long-slender (LS), and extra-long slender (ELS). The brown colored rice samples fall into the SB, MS, or LS categories; while all Indian Basmati (white colored) are classified as ELS. The study indicates that the average accumulation of As in rice grain increases with a decrease of grain size (ELS: 0.04; LS: 0.10; MS: 0.16; and SB: 0.33 mg kg(-1)), however people living in the rural villages mostly prefer brown colored SB type of rice because of its lower cost. For the participants consuming SB type of brown rice, the total daily intake of inorganic As (TDI-iAs) in 29% of the cases exceeds the previous WHO recommended provisional tolerable daily intake value (2.1 μg day(-1) kg(-1) BW), and in more than 90% of cases, the As content in the drinking water equivalent to the inorganic As intake from rice consumption (C(W,eqv)) exceeds the WHO drinking water guideline of 10 μg L(-1). This study further demonstrates that participants in age groups 18-30 and 51-65 yrs are the most vulnerable to the potential health threat of dietary As exposure compared to participants of age group 31-50 yrs, because of higher amounts of brown rice consumption patterns and lower BMI.

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