5 Easy Ways to Limit Arsenic Exposure

Our research findings have shown that arsenic at levels below 10 parts per billion may have health effects on people and children. Arsenic exposure can happen through a variety of sources including but not limited to:

  • Naturally occurring arsenic that enters drinking water through bedrock. Water that is sourced through public systems has been regulated in NH, in large part due to findings from our research, to 5 parts per billion (ppb). However, the federal drinking water standard for arsenic in drinking water is still 10 micrograms per liter. Private well systems are not regulated, therefore you should regularly test your well water.

  • Exposure through high-arsenic foods including: Leafy vegetables like lettuce, collard greens, kale, mustard and turnip greens – store more arsenic in the leaves than other types of vegetables do but not enough to be of concern. Root vegetables like beets, turnips, carrots, radishes and potatoes – have arsenic mostly in their skins. Peeling these vegetables will get rid of most of the arsenic, but avoid eating the peel or composting as this would put arsenic back into the soil. Apples, pears and grapes – absorb some arsenic that occurs naturally in soil or came from past use of pesticides.

Reducing exposure to all sources of arsenic is important to keep exposure levels as low as possible. and if you have a private well with arsenic in your water, eat a lot of rice and drink a lot of juice, it is recommended that you reduce or change those exposure sources."

Eating a variety of age-appropriate healthy foods is good for nutrition and for food safety. This approach helps you and your children get important nutrients and may reduce exposure to and potential harmful effects from contaminants that foods can absorb from the environment.

1. Opt for a variety of grains for a well-balanced diet

Rice tends to absorb arsenic more readily than other

crops, however, consumers can certainly eat rice as part

of a well-balanced diet. For infants, this includes infant

rice cereal. Source a variety of grains for your child's diet.

Rice cereal fortified with iron is a good source of nutrients

for your baby, but it shouldn’t be the only source and does

not need to be the first source. Other iron fortified infant

cereals include oat, barley and multigrain. In addition to

being nutritious, they are similarly effective as rice for

infants with esophageal reflux tendencies.feed infants and

toddlers a variety of grains as part of a well-balanced diet.

2. When preparing rice, be sure to RINSE

To lower the amount of arsenic in your rice, use six times

as much water as rice when you boil and cook down your


Rinse your rice in a strainer to get rid of about ½ the

amount of arsenic that the rice

absorbed while cooking.

3. Limit juice intake: Limit children’s fruit juice consumption to 4-6 ounces a day or less, or eat whole fruits instead. Review information from the U.S Food and Drug Administration (scroll to “FDA Monitoring and Testing of Arsenic in Food…”) on apple and pear juice, and from Consumer Reports on metals in some fruit juices. Some juices, like apple, pear or grape, can have higher amounts of arsenic.

4.Wash your produce: Most people are exposed to very little arsenic in fruits and vegetables. Arsenic uptake by a plant depends on the type of fruit or vegetable and soil characteristics. If you are a home gardener, test your soil for arsenic, since soil in some areas of the country can contain arsenic that is very high. Carefully washing your garden crops is an important step to reducing arsenic exposure from soil that remains on the food you eat.”

5. Vary the fruits and vegetables that you eat, particularly if you are exposed to arsenic through private well water, other foods or other sources. Some fruits and veggies have more arsenic than others, so you don’t want to eat too much of any one kind.