Arsenic scare angers local rice farmers - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Arsenic scare angers local rice farmers

TUCKERMAN, AR (KAIT) - Consumer Reports say rice and rice products may contain worrisome levels arsenic--a chemical known to cause cancer.

However, an average serving of rice only contains 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic. That's equal to two grains of sand, which is relatively low when compared to other foods. Regardless, the warning is devastating to a region so dependent on rice production.

"This is a big thing to us. Very big. And for news like this to hit, it's devastating. And it'll effect the markets like it's doing. It's just not good at all." Over one 100,000 acres of rice is farmed in Jackson County alone, and rice farmer Gus Graham III, is one of several rice farmers who depend heavily upon this year's crops.

Prices were down 15 cents per bushel early Wednesday, but rebounded during the afternoon with a 17.5 cent gain per bushel for November and January contracts.

This arsenic scare could keep the markets suppressed until next year--perhaps longer than that.

"These guys are going to have to keep their grains in the grain bin longer trying to hope that this scare blows over and it goes on back up," explained Graham.

Doctor Shane Speights with St. Bernards Hospital says there are no acute risks linked with rice consumption in the U.S. He adds that arsenic is found in a wide variety of foods, and a dose of perspective may be needed.

"Remember, arsenic is naturally-occurring. We find it throughout. And so, obviously, as with anything, you don't want too much of something and you don't want too little of something. But we really need to wait for the data to go through and tease out, are these really concerning levels or not."

Doctor Speights says the numbers may appear be staggering, but it is possible to have an arsenic deficiency, as Arsenic is considered an "ultra-trace" supplement.

"A preliminary article comes out, and then a knee-jerk response is made, and it can really devastate or affect an industry like that, unnecessarily."

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • From Wheelchair to the Boston Marathon

    From Wheelchair to the Boston Marathon

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 11:34 PM EDT2017-05-25 03:34:21 GMT

    In April, Williams Baptist cross country runner Alex Van Herpen competed in the prestigious Boston Marathon. An incredible feat. Learning about his path to get there, it stopped me in my tracks. Five years ago Alex was bound to a wheelchair. in January of 2011, he was diagnosed with strep throat, the flu and mono all within a two week period. For five months Alex was bound to a wheel chair. One day he just got up and walked. Medical experts had no explanation for any of it.  ...

    In April, Williams Baptist cross country runner Alex Van Herpen competed in the prestigious Boston Marathon. An incredible feat. Learning about his path to get there, it stopped me in my tracks. Five years ago Alex was bound to a wheelchair. in January of 2011, he was diagnosed with strep throat, the flu and mono all within a two week period. For five months Alex was bound to a wheel chair. One day he just got up and walked. Medical experts had no explanation for any of it.  ...

  • Traffic stop uncovers drugs, stolen gun

    Traffic stop uncovers drugs, stolen gun

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-05-25 02:40:17 GMT
    Eiichi Moore (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)Eiichi Moore (Source: Craighead County Sheriff's Department)

    Jonesboro Police Officer Joseph Bransetter pulled over a car for no license plate illumination shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Bransetter said after coming into contact with the driver, Eiichi Moore, he noticed the smell of marijuana.

    Jonesboro Police Officer Joseph Bransetter pulled over a car for no license plate illumination shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday. Bransetter said after coming into contact with the driver, Eiichi Moore, he noticed the smell of marijuana.

  • Organizers switch to Plan B for Portfest

    Organizers switch to Plan B for Portfest

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 10:19 PM EDT2017-05-25 02:19:06 GMT
    (Source: KAIT-TV)(Source: KAIT-TV)

    Several people are gearing up for this year's Portfest Festival. But, the location has changed.

    According to Julie Allen, director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, they're moving this year's Portfest Festival to downtown Newport.

    Several people are gearing up for this year's Portfest Festival. But, the location has changed.

    According to Julie Allen, director of Newport Area Chamber of Commerce, they're moving this year's Portfest Festival to downtown Newport.

Powered by Frankly