EXPOSURE - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Be Proactive

  • Identify all of the potential sources of arsenic in your world by scanning the pages in this website.
  • Compare what you and your family eat and drink each day to the food and beverages that contain arsenic.
  • Learn how to test your private well, since testing is the only way to know that water contains arsenic.
  • Review What You Can Do on each page of this site to reduce your total arsenic exposure to avoid health concerns.
  • If you have babies or children at home, or if you're pregnant, it's especially important to reduce your arsenic exposure as much as possible.

Get Help


HEALTH EFFECTS - WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • If you have a private well, test your drinking water.
  • If you are a parent, learn about how to protect your baby and kids.
  • Make your diet as low in arsenic as possible. Learn which foods you should limit.
  • Eat a varied diet to make sure you're getting balanced nutrition.
  • Don't completely stop eating a food if it provides nutritional benefits.
  • Check out the other sources of arsenic exposure to see if they apply to your family.
  • Review this site to better understand your total arsenic exposure.
  • Talk to your doctor if you think you have had unsafe amounts of arsenic.

CHILDREN - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Drink Safe Water

  • If you have a private well, test your water for arsenic. If your well has arsenic, switch to bottled water for drinking and cooking immediately and learn about your options for getting arsenic out of your drinking water.
  • If you're worried about arsenic in your drinking water, use bottled water to mix your baby formula until you are sure your home water supply is safe.

Diet Choices

  • Talk to your doctor about breast-feeding your infant or toddler. Studies have found lower levels of arsenic in breast milk than in infant formula.
  • If you choose formula for your baby, find one that isn't made with rice or rice products and avoid those with brown rice syrup listed as an ingredient.
  • Avoid rice milk for babies and young children.
  • Feed your baby solid foods besides rice. Try oat, barley, or multigrain but check with your doctor first.
  • Limit how much fruit juice your child drinks. Even better, give your child whole fruits instead. Drinking a lot of juice can be bad for health and teeth.
  • Check with your pediatrician to make a list of healthy and low-arsenic food choices.
  • Eat a varied diet.

Be Proactive

  • Make sure to teach your kids to wash their hands after playing outside.
  • Learn more about children's environmental health.
  • Learn about your biggest sources of arsenic, your total arsenic exposure and take action to reduce arsenic in your world as much as possible.

GLUTEN-FREE - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Diet Choices

  • Eat less rice and rice-based foods
  • Try new grains. Instead of eating rice in all of your meals, try other grains that have less arsenic in them. For instance: ⇒ Quinoa, ⇒ Oats, ⇒ Corn, ⇒ Flax, ⇒ Amaranth, ⇒ Teff, ⇒ Millet, or ⇒ Buckwheat.
  • Choose foods with less rice. When you buy packaged foods, be sure to check the ingredients label for the word “rice.” Eat less of this food or choose products that don't have rice in them.
  • Switch out your rice. Some types of rice have less arsenic than others. When you want to eat rice, choose:
    • Quick-cooking rice
    • Instant rice
    • Sushi rice
    • Basmati rice from India, Pakistan, or California

Cooking

  • Cook your rice like you cook pasta. Cooking your rice with extra water and then draining it off can get rid of half the arsenic.

Be Proactive

  • Read the recommendations on the Arsenic in Rice page to learn about other options to reduce your arsenic exposure through rice.
  • Eat a varied diet to make sure you're getting balanced nutrition.
  • If you have a private well, test your water for arsenic!
  • Review this site to better understand your total arsenic exposure.
  • Look for the What You Can Do action steps to reduce your arsenic exposure.

WATER TESTING - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Drink Safe Water

Be Proactive

  • Review this site to understand your total arsenic exposure.
  • Look for the WHAT YOU CAN DO action steps on each page to reduce your arsenic exposure.

Lowering your arsenic exposure now could improve your long-term health.


WATER TREATMENT - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Read the section, What should you do if you have arsenic in your well water? on the Water Treatment page, to learn about options for making your water safe to drink.

Get What Your Family Needs

  • Talk with your state private drinking water well program, your state health department or your local health department for more information on removing arsenic.
  • If you choose to install a treatment system, contact a water treatment professional to choose a system that will work for you and your budget.
  • If you have young children, consider getting a system that treats water at every faucet in the house to avoid having your kids drink untreated water while brushing teeth, bathing or showering.

Plan Ahead

  • Talk with your water treatment professional so that you know how your system works.
  • Make a plan for how you'll take care of your treatment system.
  • Once your treatment system is running, test your water again to make sure it's working to remove arsenic, and be sure to test your water every year.

RICE - WHAT YOU CAN DO

Diet Choices

  • When you can, choose lower arsenic types of rice. White rice is lower in arsenic than brown rice, but it is also lower in fiber and vitamins.
  • Check to see where your rice is grown. Look for rice from regions that have rice lower in arsenic. White basmati rice from California, India, and Pakistan, and sushi rice from the U.S. may have less arsenic than other types of rice.
  • Vary your grains, especially if rice is a big part of your diet. Consider lower-arsenic grains such as amaranth, quinoa, bulgur and farro.
  • Check the labels on the snacks you like to see if they are made with rice, rice flour, or rice syrup. If they are, try to find new snack options that don't have rice in them.

Cooking

  • Be sure the water you use for cooking rice does not contain high arsenic, since rice absorbs water as it cooks. You should not use water with more than 10 parts per billion of arsenic for cooking.
  • Cook your rice like you cook pasta (use six times as much water as rice and drain the rice after it's finished cooking) to get rid of about half the arsenic.

Keep a Balance

  • Don't eliminate rice completely from your diet, but find out how much arsenic you and your family may be consuming through food, water, and other sources.
  • If you eat a lot of rice or other foods that are higher in arsenic, eat them less often or vary with others types of food that are lower in arsenic.
  • Review information from the U.S.Food and Drug Administration and Consumer Reports which provides details on arsenic levels in rice products.

    • FRUITS, VEGGIES & JUICE - WHAT YOU CAN DO

      Be Proactive

      • Keep eating fruits and vegetables, since they are so good for your health.
      • Review the section, Where is the arsenic? on the Fruits, Juices and Vegetables page, to learn where the arsenic goes in the plants you like to eat.
      • 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.
      • Always wash all fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them and if you can, scrub them with a brush to help you get rid of any soil with arsenic in it.

      If You Grow Your Own

      • Test your soil for arsenic and other metals.
      • Talk with your town, city or state health department or Cooperative Extension Service to ask about soil testing procedures.
      • Remove soil and wash fruits and vegetables before bringing them into your home, then scrub them with a brush.
      • If you are a home gardener in an area with high arsenic in the soil (see locations with higher risk of arsenic exposure), limit the amount of lettuce, radishes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage you eat.
      • The Garden Roots project at the University of Arizona provides more information on growing your own garden safely.

      Lower the Juice

      • Limit children's fruit juice consumption to 4-6 ounces a day, or avoid juice altogether and eat whole fruits instead. Some juices, like apple or pear juice, can have higher amounts of arsenic.

      SEAFOOD - WHAT YOU CAN DO

      • Don't eat Hijiki seaweed. This is a seaweed that's used in some Asian cooking. It's not the seaweed used as a wrap in sushi.
      • Don't eat shellfish that's labeled as unsafe due to arsenic (or other contaminants).
      • Review your local fish advisory to know which fish are the safest to eat in your area.
      • Keep eating seafood for good health.
      • Be sure to consider your total arsenic exposure from well water, other foods or other sources.

      WINE & BEER - WHAT YOU CAN DO

      • If you drink wine and beer on a daily basis, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides a listing of arsenic content in beer and rice wines. Scroll down to beverages, and then to beer and rice wine, for content information on types of beer and rice wine. Brand names are not included. You could also check the manufacturer's website to see if arsenic content is offered for the type of beer or wine you like to drink. Limit those products with higher levels of arsenic.
      • If you choose beer and wine with higher concentrations, consider drinking less of them if your drinking water, food or other sources contain arsenic.
      • Follow the What You Can Do action steps on each webpage to reduce your total arsenic exposure.

      WOOD - WHAT YOU CAN DO

      • Learn if the wooden structures that your kids play on or sit at, such as picnic tables or swing sets, were built before 2003.
      • Apply a sealant to the wood at least once a year.
      • Wash hands after touching older wood and the dirt near it, particularly before eating.
      • Keep kids away from dirt near older wood.
      • Order a water test if you have a private well.
      • Learn if you might be exposed to arsenic in food or other sources.
      • Follow the What You Can Do action steps on each webpage to reduce your total arsenic exposure.

      SMOKING - WHAT YOU CAN DO


      HIGH RISK LOCATIONS - WHAT YOU CAN DO

      Drink Safe Water

      • If you're worried about arsenic where you live, contact your local health department to learn more about the issue and ask if there could be arsenic in your soil or water.
      • Test your water for arsenic if you have a private well.
      • If you are on a public water supply (not a private well), request your water consumer or quality report from your public water supplier.

      Test Your Soil

      • Find out if your state has high levels of arsenic in the soil.
      • If you like to garden or have children who play outside, you may want to test your soil. Use the search term "soil testing" in your internet browser or check your state or Cooperative Extension Service websites.
      • Learn how to lower arsenic in homegrown veggies.
      • Teach kids to wash hands after playing in soil and before eating. Find out about other ways to keep your kids safe.

      Be Proactive


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