Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

It’s a cereal killer. 🙂

Rice cereal is a popular first food for babies. It’s also kind of high in arsenic, says the Food and Drug Administration, so if your kid gets a steady rice cereal diet, it’s time to diversify.

Source: Don’t Feed Babies a Ton of Rice Cereal, Says FDA

Boiling it and discarding the water (like how you make pasta) reduces the arsenic content, so that might help. The FDA’s fact sheet has some more info.  I’ve covered arsenic in rice in the past.

Badass Historical Chemists: Locusta

Locusta was one of the first recorded professional chemists. She was employed by several royal Romans, and even established a school for other chemists. Here’s why it was best not to piss off either her or her students.

Source: Badass Historical Chemists: Locusta

Some people believe she was the first recorded serial killer. Not everyone she poisoned was for profit. It’s a toss up as to whether she poisoned them for fun or for practice.

The First Real “Magic Bullet” in Medicine Was Arsenic

There wasn’t much to be done about syphilis for most of its history. It was a horrible, slow way to die and the only way to ward off the most acute attacks was mercury—until a dye and a poison provided the inspiration for an effective treatment.

Source: The First Real “Magic Bullet” in Medicine Was Arsenic

Arsenic is still a silver bullet today. It’s used to cure Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Cure, not treat; and APML used to be a death sentence.

There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

Urban farmers who have their soil tested for heavy metals and other contaminants can get a nasty shock when they realize what would be coursing through the food they grow on their land. Establish an innocent little vegetable patch and you’ll be serving your family a salad full of fresh lead.

Happily, contaminated soil doesn’t mean farming is out of the question. A relatively small investment in compost and new topsoil can mean a relatively large drop in contaminants. Some urban farmers put in raised beds that keep the plants they intend to eat out of contact with the soil. And then there’s another solution: phytoremediation.

Source: There’s Lead in Your Farm, But Here’s How to Get It Out

I do not recommend eating Indian mustard, or mustard greens in general.  3.5 oz/100 grams of mustard greens contains 592.7 mcg of vitamin K, or 564% of the Daily Value (DV).

Same recommendation goes for Chinese cabbage.  100 grams of Chinese cabbage contains 42.9 mcg of vitamin K, or 54% DV.  It’s not as bad for us as mustard greens, but certainly higher than most what I’ve profiled to date.

Arsenic in Drinking Water Linked to 50% Drop in Breast Cancer Deaths

One typically does not hear talk of the health benefits of arsenic, but a new study by researchers from UC Berkeley and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile has linked arsenic to a 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths.

The study, published this month in the open-access journal EBioMedicine, presents results of breast cancer mortality data from a region in Chile where residents were inadvertently exposed to high levels of arsenic, a naturally occurring element found in many minerals. Instead of an increase in mortality, as with many other cancer sites, the study found that breast cancer deaths were cut in half during the period that coincided with high arsenic exposure. The effect was more pronounced among women under age 60, with mortality in these women reduced by 70 percent.

So should arsenic now be used to treat breast cancer?

“Not yet,” said Smith. “We do not know if the treatment will work, but carefully designed clinical trials should take place as soon as possible based on this new evidence.”

Source: Arsenic in drinking water linked to 50 percent drop in breast cancer deaths

I have to wonder if the drop was due to how death was reported.  I’ve heard of some countries choosing how they classified cause of death to make statistics look like the country had a better quality of life.  IE: Classifying “cancer” as “old age”.

Remember When People Used To Eat Arsenic As A Health Supplement?

Probably not, unless you’re well over 100 years old. In the 1800s, arsenic began being marketed as a health supplement, even though it had been a known poison for thousands of years. So why were people suddenly eating it on purpose?

…Today, people are no longer impressed with the health benefits of arsenic, inside Austria or outside of it. Not only does it cause cell death, but even low doses of it increase a person’s risk of cancer. Whenever natural arsenic has leaked into the drinking water of communities, cancer rates have sky-rocketed.

Arsenic in Rice: 11 Facts You Need to Know

We first heard the bad news in 2012. Rice contains arsenic, Consumer Reports proclaimed in a riveting 2012 study. But it left us with a host of questions: Which types of rice have the highest levels of arsenic? Which have the lowest? What about other rice products, such as rice milk and cereals? And what about other grains?

Source: Arsenic in Rice: 11 Facts You Need to Know

There’s two key points:

9. Don’t rely on an “organic” label—rice grown organically was found to have the same arsenic levels as “conventionally” grown rice. While organic rice may contain fewer pesticides, arsenic levels are still high.

10. You can cut your exposure by thoroughly rinsing rice before you cook it, and draining excess water after it’s cooked. Consumer Reports recommends a 6-to-1 water-to-rice ratio, rather than the standard 2-to-1 ratio. Yes, rinsing and draining rice might wash away some vitamins and minerals, but the rinse-and-drain technique will remove about 30 percent of the arsenic.

Arsenic in the Water: Heart Risk

Ana Navas-Acien can’t quite recall the moment when she began to worry about arsenic in drinking water and its potential role in heart disease.  Perhaps it was when she read a study suggesting a link among people in Bangladesh.  And a similar study in Taiwan. And in Chile.

Several years ago, Dr. Navas-Acien, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to see if similar links could be found in the United States.

Source: A Heart Risk in Drinking Water

Sadly, the article doesn’t have any suggestions for preventative measures.  Only that they were looking at filters on wells.  Ground/well water is largely the focus.