Arsenic: High doses in food or water will kill you
After denying for years that there is arsenic in chickens produced in U.S. for the last 15 years, FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) now admits that there is arsenic in chicken – as nutritionists and industry watchdog agencies have been saying for years.
Now FDA says its own research shows that the arsenic added to the chicken feed, ends up in the chicken meat itself where it is consumed by humans, hence causing cancer among the population. FDA now suggests that arsenic is a carcinogen and causes cancer and other illnesses.
Additionally, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), classifies arsenic as “carcinogenic to humans”, based on evidence from human studies that it can cause cancer of the lung, bladder, and skin. IARC also notes possible links between exposure to arsenic in drinking water and cancers of the kidney, liver, and prostate.
Although the hazards of arsenic exposure is very serious indeed, there are ways people can protect themselves from high exposure to these hazards by limiting or removing certain types of foods:
Inorganic arsenic is a carbon-combined compound that is easily found in industry chemicals, manufacturing processing and fabrication, and in building products. Inorganic arsenic often leaks into water wells (drinking water), fish farming (fish feed), and soil (agriculture) and since it is toxic, it is linked to cancer and serious fatal illnesses.
Arsenic which is known to cause cancer (bladder, kidney, lung, skin, and, less consistently, colon, prostate, and liver cancer), often causes many other serious health problems even with moderate amounts of exposure.
The highest levels of arsenic (in all forms) in foods can be found in farmed fish, white rice, brown rice, rice cereal (and other rice products), mushrooms, poultry, some prescription drugs, and some vaccines.
One of the major mistakes of the medical industry took place at the beginning of 20th century when they included small amounts of arsenic in the medicine that was produced.
An interesting fact is that before the beginning of 20th century, there was very little (almost none) cases of cancer or cancer related illnesses among the population in the world. Cancer rates started to grow around industrial areas of Europe and North America and then finally the rest of the world.
One of the reasons that FDA regards arsenic as a cancer causing toxin may be due to the fact that people who have lived near industrial or agricultural sources of arsenic have been exposed to higher levels by inhaling fumes or eating contaminated water or food – and these areas have shown higher cancer rates.
Industrial use of arsenic as well as leaks (and chemical dumps) into the soil end up contaminating water wells and public water networks.
How arsenic builds up in water pipes and storage tanks and eventually ends up contaminating drink water that is delivered through the public water systems:
Arsenic has been shown to attach to iron in distribution system pipes. Because iron is so effective at binding with arsenic, corrosion deposits can have high concentrations of arsenic solids. In a recent study, arsenic levels found in solids that were collected after pipe sections and hydrants were flushed were as high as 13.65 milligrams of arsenic per gram of solid. Most of the remaining solid was composed of iron.
As a result of this, people can take in higher levels of arsenic if they live in areas where arsenic levels are naturally high in the drinking water.
Rice fields use pipes that have high amounts of arsenic (either due to deposits or due to corrosion). Also water used for fish farming is re-used through piping storage units that can result in high levels of arsenic contaminated water, which ends up through the ecosystem contaminating the fish (and stored in its fat) that we consume.
Almost all rice products have been found to contain close-to-dangerous amounts of arsenic, although the levels can vary widely. Farmed fish is also a serious culprit. For most people, food and water are the largest sources of arsenic in take.
How to lower your exposure to arsenic:
You can protect yourself and your loved ones by making sure you eat more wild fish instead of farmed fish (like wild Sockeye Salmon, or wild Copper River Salmon), and a lot less chicken. Organic chicken has been shown to have substantially lower amounts of arsenic since the ‘chicken feed’ has little or no arsenic. However, the water supplies are contaminated hence why there is still small amounts of arsenic in organic chicken meat.
For rice lovers, well they need to reduce rice consumption dramatically or avoid eating rice and rice products. Both white and brown rice have been shown to contain high levels of arsenic, and sadly, brown rice is shown to have even higher levels of arsenic than white rice. The best alternative for rice is organic quinoa.
Conventional mushrooms also contain high levels of arsenic. Because mushrooms are very porous, they easily absorb pesticides and fungicides. Since mushrooms are nature’s accumulators of heavy metals, the root of the mushroom absorbs toxins such as petrochemicals, dyes, pesticides, arsenic, preservatives, industrial metals, chemical weapons, nitrates, cadmium, mercury, cesium, lead, and copper. It is wise to buy and consume only organically grown mushrooms and even then, ideally by a producer that is really conscious of contamination, soil quality, absence of chemical treatment, or any form of industrial leaks or water contamination. Hence, be wary of purchasing mushrooms from a grower with whom you are not fully confident in the growing environment or their growing practices.
Finally, what you can do to reduce arsenic (and other metals) in the body is through sauna and/or hot yoga. Sauna and hot yoga (and most types of exercise) result in perspiration. Perspiration is a method by which the body discards many metals and compounds from the body. You will however need to replenish your body’s electrolytes, for instance, by eating a banana or drinking some coconut water to replenish electrolytes.