High levels of lead detected in rice

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RICE imported from some countries contains high levels of lead that could pose a health risk to children, researchers have claimed.

Experts in the United States detected concentrations of lead ranging from 6mg to 12mg per kilo in rice from several sources. The highest amounts were seen in rice from China and Taiwan. Significantly high levels were also found in samples from the Czech Republic, Bhutan, Italy, India and Thailand.

Infants and children consuming the rice would be exposed to lead levels 30 to 60 times higher than the tolerable safety limits set by the US Food and Drug Administration, said the study authors. For Asian children, who eat more rice, exposures could be up to 120 times higher.

The findings were presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.