Arsenic is a human carcinogen and it is found in nature, so it shows up in our food supply. It is taken up from the soil, and rice does it more readily than other grains, fruits, vegetables, and poultry. Toxic amounts found in drinking water have been known to cause skin, bladder, lung, liver and kidney cancers. Americans, however, are exposed to much lower levels, thanks to regulated water treatment and EPA standards. The amount of arsenic in a community's drinking water is public information and can be accessed by contacting your local utility company. To rid your drinking water of arsenic, you will need an under-the-sink reverse osmosis filter. Pitcher or faucet filters don't do the job.
How concerned should we be about our daily exposure? According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, there isn't enough data to set a toxic limit on inorganic arsenic in food. Of course, the less you ingest, the better. It is recommended that adults eat no more than 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rice a week. You can also remove up to 50% of the arsenic in cooked rice by rinsing it with water, then cooking it in 6 parts water to one part rice, cooking until it reaches proper texture, and pouring off the excess water.
To check the arsenic levels in your favorite brands, go to Consumer Reports.org