Institute of Good Manufacturing Practices India®

(An Autonomous Body Recognized by Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India)

Millions are at risk of using high-arsenic water for cooking

A recent University of Sheffield study highlights the health risks posed by elevated arsenic levels in water. Non-compliance with the World Health Organization's (WHO) arsenic limits in water affects about 32% of the global population, particularly in low and middle-income countries like China and Bangladesh. Prolonged exposure to arsenic, mainly through water and food, can lead to severe health issues such as cancer and diabetes.

The study, the first of its kind, investigated how cooking rice with arsenic-contaminated water affects arsenic absorption. White and parboiled rice accumulates more arsenic than brown rice when cooked with contaminated water. This emphasizes the importance of using arsenic-safe water for cooking. While the UK regulates arsenic levels in rice and water, many Asian and African countries lack similar regulations.

Countries must adopt WHO's latest recommendations to minimize arsenic exposure and protect public health, especially in regions with high rice consumption like Bangladesh. Additionally, draining excess water after cooking rice is recommended to reduce arsenic exposure in the absence of arsenic-safe water.