Practice English Speaking&Listening with: What's up with Arsenic?

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We're constantly being bombarded with information

about heavy metals, undesirable substances in our food and how they impact our health

these messages are confusing

but we are here to break it down and explain the basics of Arsenic

The word gets tossed around often But what is Arsenic?

Simply put Arsenic is just an element

it's found in the environment both naturally occuring

but also due to human contamination

Believe it or not Arsenic is found almost everywhere

It is found in air, food, soil, water and even a tiny amount in our own bodies

This is not necessarily a problem

Since it is usually found at low levels

but what complicates matters is that there are loads of different types of Arsenic

To distinguish between these different types

scientists use a fancy kind of chemistry called Arsenic speciation

To simplify, Arsenic is often grouped into two categories

Organic Arsenic and Inorganic Arsenic

The inorganic type is very toxic

while the organic types generally pose less risk of health problems

While there are generally no immediate physical affects of Arsenic consumption in food

Too much of the toxic types can cause long term health problems such as cancer

If we take a look at the total amount of Arsenic in a few food groups

we can see that Fish and Seaweed contain high amounts of Arsenic compared to the other food groups

But even if Fish contains more Arsenic

It doesnt mean it contains a lot of the Toxic Arsenic

and its not just about how much of the bad Arsenic is in the food

but also, just as importantly

how much of the food you eat

there is very little Arsenic in Dairy and Grains, such as flour

However the average European consumer eats a lot of these food products

So if you are worried about headlines stating that there is Arsenic in your rice

Dont panic!

Eating rice and rice based products is fine

But eating 3 bowls of rice everyday with rice crackers for dessert

Could be a reason for concern

Parents today are advised against using rice milk

as a substitute for milk, for children with allergies

and should not give infants rice porridge or rice based foods

exclusively as their main source of first food

You cant avoid Arsenic but what should not be forgotten is the nutritional benefit of food

Which often outweighs any negative impact

from Rice, Fish, Seafood, Fruits or Vegetables

The best advice we can give you today is to eat a varried diet

mix up the grains you eat

be conscious of the rice intake for small children

and dont eat a bucket of Seaweed daily

Finally, its not about what you eat but how much and how often you eat it

Exactly, and if you want to learn more about Arsenic

Click on the links below

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