Rice Intake and Emerging Concerns on Arsenic in Rice: a Review of the Human Evidence and Methodologic Challenges

  • Margaret R. KaragasEmail author
  • Tracy Punshon
  • Matt Davis
  • Catherine M. Bulka
  • Francis Slaughter
  • Despina Karalis
  • Maria Argos
  • Habibul Ahsan
Food, Health, and the Environment (K Nachman, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Food, Health, and the Environment


Purpose of Review

Rice is a major staple food worldwide and a dietary source of arsenic. We therefore summarized the state of the epidemiologic evidence on whether rice consumption relates to health outcomes associated with arsenic exposure.

Recent Findings

While epidemiologic studies have reported that higher rice consumption may increase the risk of certain chronic conditions, i.e., type 2 diabetes, most did not consider specific constituents of rice or other sources of arsenic exposure. Studies that examined rice intake stratified by water concentrations of arsenic found evidence of increasing trends in cardiovascular disease risk, skin lesions, and squamous cell skin cancers and bladder cancer associated with higher rice consumption.


Further studies are needed to understand the health impacts of arsenic exposure from rice consumption taking into account all sources of rice intake and potential confounding by other dietary constituents or contaminants and arsenic exposure from sources such as water.


Rice Arsenic Epidemiology Diet Health effects 


Author Contributions

Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon, Matt Davis, Catherine M. Bulka, Maria Argos, and Habibul Ahsan conceived and designed the systematic review; Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon, Catherine M. Bulka, Francis Slaughter, Despina Karalis, and Maria Argos acquired and analyzed the data; Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon, Matt Davis, Catherine M. Bulka, and Habibul Ahsan interpreted the results; Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon, Matt Davis, Francis Slaughter, Despina Karalis, Catherine M. Bulka, Maria Argos, and Habibul Ahsan wrote the paper; Margaret R. Karagas, Maria Argos, and Habibul Ahsan had primary responsibility for final content. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding Information

This paper, and five others published in Science of The Total Environment (STOTEN) [7, 8, 9, 10, 11], is a product of the Collaborative on Food with Arsenic and Associated Risk and Regulation (C-FARR): a two-year effort led by the Dartmouth Superfund Research Program and Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center. The Collaborative on Food with Arsenic and Associated Risk and Regulation (C-FARR) is supported by the Dartmouth College Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program P42ES007373 and the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth P01ES022832 from the NIEHS and RD83544201 from the EPA, and this submission was also supported by the Columbia Superfund Research Program P42ES010349 and grants NIEHS grant R01ES024423, and NIGMS grant P20GM104416.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon, Matt Davis, Catherine M. Bulka, Francis Slaughter, Despina Karalis, Maria Argos, and Habibul Ahsan have no potential conflicts of interests to declare.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

The authors did not perform any studies with human or animal subjects.

Supplementary material

40572_2019_249_MOESM1_ESM.docx (106 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  3. 3.Department of Systems, Populations and LeadershipUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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