China’s Tainted Rice

In China, the staple food of the country is rice. Now due to the rapid industrialisation of the country over 10% of rice grown in China is contaminated with a dangerous mix of heavy metals. This contamination has been happening for years but continues to be left unaddressed.

With the rapid industrialisation of China there has also been a rapid increase in pollution of the ground and air. Some toxic chemical elements being released into the environment are mercury, arsenic and cadmium. Pollution on this scale has continued for years and has contaminated a vast majority of China’s land. The complete chain of food in China is now also most likely contaminated.

Rice is highly susceptible in absorbing high levels of cadmium which is also hazardous to us. The chemical cadmium seeps into water from nearby lead, tin and copper mines. The water is then used for irrigation in the fields.

Regular digestion of high levels of cadmium can result in lung damage and possible death.

A report citing from academic sources dating from 2007 has stated that,

“No matter if the tests were taken by agricultural ministry departments or by academics, research all shows that about 10 per cent of Chinese rice has levels of cadmium that surpass standards,”

The report also stated that there have been no major reports conducted on the toxicity of the rice and potential major health hazards.

China’s heavy focus on growth in conjunction with it’s very relaxed environmental protection laws has left a scandalous past of food safety scares.

Recent scandals have entailed contaminated red wine, fake tofu and bleached mushrooms. The most dangerous case though occurred in 2008 when six children died and 300,000 fell ill when consuming powdered milk that was laced with a chemical called melamine in order to pass China’s protein level screening.

1 comment
  1. Mike Kersten said:

    As if I needed another reason to be suspicious of Chartwells’ lunch program at our Hong Kong school!

    How long can we visit toxic abuse on the planet and not expect to suffer tragic consequences?


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