China rice laced with heavy metals: report

February 16, 2011

Up to 10 percent of rice grown in China is contaminated with harmful heavy metals but little has been done to highlight the possible public health risks, a report said.

This week's edition of the New Century magazine cited studies showing that large amounts of Chinese have been tainted with like cadmium due to years of pollution stemming from the nation's rapid economic growth.

"During China's fast-paced industrialisation, activities such as mining have sprung up everywhere, releasing into the environment like cadmium, arsenic, mercury and other harmful heavy metals," the report said.

"These harmful heavy metals have spread through the air and water, polluting a rather large area of China's land... a complete chain of food contamination has existed for years."

The report cited academic studies since 2007 focusing on several rural villages in southern near mines and industrial areas where health problems such as bone diseases have emerged, mostly among the elderly.

Pan Genxing, a scientist who carried out some of the key research cited in the report, said the percentage of tainted rice was even higher in some specific localities.

"In areas with acidic soil that are known to be badly polluted, we have found that up to 60 percent of the rice samples gathered there surpass cadmium standards," Pan, a scientist with Nanjing Agricultural University, told AFP.

However he added that while cadmium levels were sometimes five times higher than government standards, the problem represented a "potential health risk" rather than dangerous "acute toxicity".

Most at risk from high cadmium levels were subsistence farmers in polluted areas who mainly live on the rice they grow, Pan said.

Of the major grains, rice has the strongest ability to absorb , which often seeps into water used for irrigation near mines, especially those that extract lead, tin and copper, the report said.

The magazine report said, however, that no major investigations into the possible public health impact have been carried out.

Rice, which is widely grown in south China, is the nation's staple grain with about 200 million tonnes produced annually, the report said.

Food safety is a major problem in China, where scares regularly emerge including recent scandals involving contaminated red wine, bleached mushrooms, fake tofu and recycled cooking oil.

In 2008, at least six children died and around 300,000 fell sick after consuming powdered milk laced with the industrial chemical melamine, which was added to make products appear higher in protein.

Rapid industrialisation over the past 30 years helped China become the world's second-largest economy last year.

But the focus on growth, combined with lax environmental protection, has saddled the country with some of the world's worst water and air pollution.

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1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2011
Sin and greed knows no bounds. Just how evolution is going to solve that little conundrum is quite clear - it never will. There's only one solution, but then most people do not want to know about it anyway.
not rated yet Feb 16, 2011
What about the food that China exports to the United States? While much of it is labeled 'organic' and is supposedly free of insecticides, is the soil that the plant grew in free of industrial contaminants?
not rated yet Feb 16, 2011
Sin and greed knows no bounds. Just how evolution is going to solve that little conundrum is quite clear.

You do have a very narrow view of the world.
Every of your comments, mostly not really related to the subject of the article, comes down to some Religious or at least anti-evolution contents.

There is no conundrum, there is nothing evolution need to 'solve'.
Evolution means to adept.

You should get used to the idea that not every articel here is good for ID Trolling.
not rated yet Feb 16, 2011
I actually haven't seen much food from China labeled organic. After recently going to china though, you'd have to by crazy to eat anything imported from there... I saw Chinese markets with restrooms full of sawdust and medical waste (yeah, medical waste, as in half empty bottles of blood plasma, don't as me how they got there or why) and no sink or any place to wash hands with employees right outside handling raw meat with no gloves...
not rated yet Feb 17, 2011
What doesnt kill you makes you stronger.

Hence the Chinese have the strongest economy in the world.

Be handy if the rice was laced with rare earth metals for companies to smuggle of the country.
2 / 5 (8) Feb 17, 2011
Socialist states have little regard for the environment. People and land are assets to acquire more state power.
1 / 5 (2) Feb 17, 2011
Linfen, Shanxi Province, China is named one of the most polluted places on earth along with multiple places in Russia and Kyrgyzstan and other countries with repressive is that communism, socialism, despotism working for these countries?
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 17, 2011
"The socialist world suffers from the worst pollution on earth. "
"many environmental problems are not caused by "market failure" but by government’s failure to enforce property rights."
"Under communal property ownership, where no one owns or is responsible for a natural resource, the inclination is for each individual to abuse or deplete the resource before someone else does. Common examples of this "tragedy" are how people litter public streets and parks much more than their own yards"
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 18, 2011
ryggesogn2, many thanks for the link to "The Freeman" website.
3 / 5 (2) Feb 19, 2011
"The socialist world suffers from the worst pollution on earth. "
And 200 years ago, the opposite was true.

What's your point? Developing countries like India, who utilize abundant coal, like the capitalist US does, are merely following your lead.

You're a bag of twisted fiction, composed entirely of untruth and propaganda. Very sad.

I think it's time to write a book about you. "The World According to Jon Swenson: A diatribe of Ignorant Ramblings and Valueless Opinions from Websites I Frequent"
3 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2011
"The socialist world suffers from the worst pollution on earth. "
And 200 years ago, the opposite was true.

I think it's time to write a book about you. "The World According to Jon Swenson: A diatribe of Ignorant Ramblings and Valueless Opinions from Websites I Frequent"

PILE ON! Its IRVO-WIF! (pronounced Erv-O-Wiff).

China has huge pollution problem from rapid development. I remember LA having a really nasty smog when gas motors were not as clean and pollution wasn't regulated. It was awful.

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