Arsenic is a heavy metal that is found naturally in bedrock and in soil. In many countries, water with high arsenic content is used for irrigation of crops and is then absorbed by plants. Rice appears to be particularly liable to absorb and store high levels of arsenic. Most exposure to arsenic comes through food and drinking water.
Is arsenic dangerous?
Arsenic occurs in two main forms: organic and inorganic. Inorganic arsenic is the form that is toxic to humans. Arsenic can for example have an effect on foetal and child development, and the nervous system. Exposure to arsenic over many years can also increase the risk of cancer.