High percentage inorganic arsenic content of mining impacted and nonimpacted Chinese rice

Y.-G. Zhu, G. -X Sun, M. Lei, M. Teng, Y. -X. Liu, N. -C. Chen, L. -H. Wang, A. M. Carey, C. Deacon, A. Raab, A. A. Meharg, P. N. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

391 Citations (Scopus)


Two approaches were undertaken to characterize the arsenic As) content of Chinese rice. First, a national market basket survey (n = 240) was conducted in provincial capitals, sourcing grain from China's premier rice production areas. Second, to reflect rural diets, paddy rice (n = 195) directly from farmers fields were collected from three regions in Hunan, a key rice producing province located in southern China. Two of the sites were within mining and smeltery districts, and the third was devoid of large-scale metal processing industries. Arsenic levels were determined in all the samples while a subset (n = 33) were characterized for As species, using a new simple and rapid extraction method suitable for use with Hamilton PRP-X100 anion exchange columns and HPLC-ICP-MS. The vast majority (85%) of the market rice grains possessed total As levels < 150 ng g(-1). The rice collected from mine-impacted regions, however, were found to be highly enriched in As, reaching concentrations of up to 624 ng g(-1). Inorganic As (As-i) was the predominant species detected in all of the speciated grain, with As-i levels in some samples exceeding 300 ng g(-1). The As-i concentration in polished and unpolished Chinese rice was successfully predicted from total As levels. The mean baseline concentrations for As-i in Chinese market rice based on this survey were estimated to be 96 ng g(-1) while levels in mine-impacted areas were higher with ca. 50% of the rice in one region predicted to fail the national standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5008-5013
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 2008


  • market basket survey
  • oryza-sativa L.
  • risk-assessment
  • dietary exposure
  • speciation
  • soil
  • contamination
  • grains
  • plants
  • wheat


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