Because of the recent finding of arsenic in certain rice-based infant formulas, animal guardians across the country have become increasingly concerned about potential exposure of their pets to arsenic, particularly being now found in some batches of brown rice. Arsenic has been building up in the environment ground and soil water because of years of human farm activity.
Many years ago, the widespread use of arsenic-based pesticides also lead to increased amounts in the environment, which tend to persist for many years. With periods of increased flooding, the potential exposure of human crops like rice to inappropriate levels of arsenic has increased. It is the outer layer of the rice grain which is typically made into brown rice and found to be the highest potential of exposure. Arsenic is a categorized carcinogen, having been linked to various types of cancers in people on prolonged exposure.
The concern for our pets has heightened since a Consumer Reports analysis showed increased arsenic levels in urine of people who consumed human rice products. While a 2011 FDA report showed that 58 major pet foods were not a risk to pets, I would still be concerned in the future, especially if tainted rice that has been banned for human consumption ends up in our pets’ food. I would stay tuned to the news on this topic, especially since there are no federal standards for arsenic in most foods, including pet food.