Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Arsenic found in RICE- Various Levels

Consumer Reports Investigation: Varying Levels of Arsenic Found In Rice and Rice Products Show Need for Federal Action

Concerning levels of known human carcinogen found in tests of more than 200 samples

YONKERS, NY — In Consumer Reports’ tests of more than 60 rice and rice products, inorganic arsenic, a known human carcinogen, was found in most of the name brand and other rice product samples. Levels varied, but were significant in some samples.

While there are federal limits for arsenic in drinking water, there aren’t many standards for arsenic in food. Earlier this year, Consumer Reports found worrisome levels of arsenic in apple and grape juices and called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set limits for arsenic in those juices. Based on its latest findings and analysis, Consumer Reports is asking the government to take additional steps, including urging the FDA to set limits for arsenic in rice and rice products.

“The goal of our report is to inform—not alarm—consumers about the importance of reducing arsenic exposure and offer actions they can take moving forward, such as limiting their rice consumption,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., Director of Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Given what we now know about arsenic’s increasing role in contributing to multiple cancers and other serious health effects, the government needs to regulate arsenic in food. This includes setting standards and banning the practices that persistently deliver arsenic into our food and water supply.”

Consumer Reports Findings

Consumer Reports tested a range of rice products including infant cereals, hot cereals, ready-to-eat cereals, rice cakes, rice crackers, rice pasta, rice flour, and rice drinks and found varying, but measurable amounts of total arsenic—including inorganic and organic forms—in samples of almost every product tested. Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen that can cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer. Two organic forms measured—called DMA and MMA—are classified as possible carcinogens.

Consumer Reports’ study provides a snapshot of the market, with many products purchased in the New York metropolitan area and online this past spring. It is too limited to provide general conclusions about individual brands or categories of rice products but there were notable findings.

  • White rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas generally had higher levels of total arsenic and inorganic arsenic than rice samples from elsewhere (India, Thailand and California combined).
  • Within tested brands offering brown and white rice versions, brown rice had higher average total and inorganic arsenic than their white rice counterparts.
  • Some brown rice samples were lower in arsenic compared to some white rice samples which may be explained by agricultural practices or geographic location.
  • Infant rice cereals and drink products also contained worrisome levels of arsenic. Consumer Reports advises that children under the age of 5 not be given rice drinks as part of their daily diet, similar to advice given in the United Kingdom regarding rice milk.
  • People who ate rice had arsenic levels that were at least 44 percent greater than those who had not according to Consumer Reports’ analysis of federal health data. Certain ethnic groups were more highly affected, including Mexicans, other Hispanics, and a broad category that included Asians.
  • Some food companies are concerned. And methods have been introduced to try to reduce levels of arsenic in products.

A chart identifying arsenic levels for each sample Consumer Reports along with complete report and analysis can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org. The article “Arsenic in your food,” also appears in the November 2012 issue of Consumer Reports.

What the Government Should Do

Because Consumer Reports found significant levels of inorganic arsenic it believes more must be done to reduce dietary exposure.

  • The FDA should set limits for arsenic in rice products as well as apple and grape juices as Consumer Reports has previously requested.
  • The FDA should ban the feeding of arsenic-containing drugs to animals for that are used for the purpose of pigmentation, growth promotion, feed efficiency and disease prevention.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should phase out use of all arsenical pesticides.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the EPA should end the use of arsenic-laden manure as fertilizer for all foods and halt the feeding of manure to animals.

“Consumers may be surprised to learn that similar to antibiotics, arsenic-containing drugs can be fed daily to chickens, turkeys, and pigs to promote growth, lower the levels of feed required, prevent disease in healthy animals, and color the meat,” Dr. Rangan said. “The manure of treated animals ends up containing arsenic too. It can also be used to fertilize food crops, which effectively introduces arsenic back into the food supply. We are asking the government to stop the cycling of arsenic in our food and water.”

December 5, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , | Leave a comment

An open letter from Vicki Stump

Aloha Big Dog;
I have been a faithful weekly reader of your Hawaii Trib column for a long time. Your Road Runners group are sensational!!
I feel saddened by your health dilemma now, but very inspired by the message you always seem to put out.
Being health conscious, this one I always remember, “not letting the rain stop us from getting out and exercising”
Your positive attitude, giving nature, and sense of humor, has always keep me up!
You’re an inspiration to one and all. You always seem to bring out the best in everyone.
I just wanted to touch base and let you know how you have impacted my life, as well as many others, for the better. Even though we’ve never met, I know you have so many friends and will always be remembered.
You’re going down in history! 

Vicki Stump

Vicki Stump

Thinking of you and wishing you love and feeling connected.
Much aloha always,
Vicki Stump

November 30, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , | 1 Comment

My husband is my hero

my wife honors me as she wore this button to school all day

This is the ultimate honor.  My wife Randee wore this button to Keaau Middle School all day! When she showed it too me it brought me to tears She is a good person and a great caregiver.

November 29, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , | 1 Comment

Leaving an impression on others to stay Healthy and Fit

Aloha Mr. Joseph!Over the years, my husband and I have enjoyed reading your articles in the Tribune Herald.  Upon reading yesterday’s paper (11/26/12), it was put upon my heart to tell you how you have impacted my family.Back in high school (1986), I ran cross-country.  I wasn’t very good, and actually came in dead last in a meet once!  But, I enjoyed the camaraderie, being outside, and taking in the fresh air.  The years have flown by since then, and running fell by the wayside.Within the past couple of years, I have made a semi-regular effort to exercise, including jogging.  Last year, my 17 year old daughter suggested that we run the Veteran’s Day 5k.  Since mother/daughter time is rare, I bared the cold and rain and headed to Coconut Island with her.  It was our very first 5k, and we created some great memories!  She has since gone off to Colorado for college.This year I decided to do it again, and to my surprise, my husband decided to join me!  He is 55 years old and has always stated that he hates to run, but he actually ran most of the way!  He ran in honor of his father, George Inouye, veteran of the 100th Battalion.  It was a very touching tribute. 

In addition, we also ran the 5k on Thanksgiving!  We appear to be adjusting to our empty nest a lot better than I had imagined.

I wanted to share this with you because if it weren’t for your passion for running and your compassion for others, my family would have never become involved with these events – we would have been too intimidated!  Your name is synonymous with running on the Big Island, but it is your smile and heart that inspires us most.  We came out not only to run, but also to show our support for the Big Dog.

Mahalo nui loa,      Lisa & Eric

November 28, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running on the Big Island | | 4 Comments

Grey Matters in fighting brain cancer, so does exercise and a positive attitudude

Click onto any photo to enlarge.

Friends and family in Taiwan shows their support for brain cancer survivors by Daughter and friends in Taiwan show support for Big Dog!  This past weekend my daughter was shown a great deal of love and support by friends in Taiwan, who came together to show their support for my fight against brain cancer. Grey ribbons were worn by all, and I am hoping to get some of them made for my friends and for my races here in Hilo!

Thank you to our friends in Taiwan, who have been so kind and supportive! I look forward to meeting you all at Jaclynn’s graduation in June!
wearing grey ribbons. related links: 




September 26, 2012 Posted by | Health and Fitness | , | 3 Comments