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27/02/2012

OTA working group against endangering rice cropping through arsenic

by Kai Kreuzer

OTA working group against endangering rice cropping through arsenic Foto: istock/Markus Schieder

Arsenic is a natural element that can contaminate soil as well as groundwater used for drinking and irrigation. The legacy of decades of routine use of arsenic-based herbicides and insecticides poses a real threat to all food production, organic and conventional, warns the Organic Trade Association.

Unlike non-irrigated rice, irrigated rice plants, that tend to stand in water, seem especially at risk since they take up high levels of arsenic.

Crops known to extract arsenic from the soil or irrigation water should be limited to arsenic-free areas. OTA will put together a task force to proactively work on solutions to address this issue within the organic industry. Moreover O.T.A. recommends that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency should work together to set and enforce regulatory limits to arsenic in our food supply.

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