Toxic Rice | 10.3% Has Excess Cadmium; & 28.4% Has Excess Lead | Arable Land Severely Contaminated

Toxic Rice | 10.3% Has Excess Cadmium; & 28.4% Has Excess Lead | Arable Land Severely Contaminated

Toxic Rice | 10.3% Has Excess Cadmium; & 28.4% Has Excess Lead | Arable Land Severely Contaminated

As one of China’s staple foods, the repeated incidents of toxic rice has been a cause of concern for many. On April 26, 2020, a report on the disposal of 99.4 tons of cadmium-poisoned rice in Zhenxiong County, Yunnan, caused widespread concern. A video was recorded by an unknown individual on the situation. In the video, we see piles of rice bags being crushed and mixed with coal using heavy machinery. According to official media, the coal-covered rice was then burned as fuel in a thermal power plant and eliminated, citing the safety concerns of high cadmium levels in the contaminated rice. Between April and July of 2019, the Zhenxiong County Market Bureau had previously confiscated the contaminated rice, which had been recently purchased by local food processing plants for rice noodles. Mr. Xiong, an official of the Bureau, commented that during the 2019 Chinese New Year Festival, they had sampled rice noodles manufactured by a local factory and found cadmium levels that exceeded safety standards. Looking further into the situation, they had finally identified the rice grains as the source behind the high cadmium concentrations. According to Mr. Xiong, neither the rice distributor nor the factory’s company was aware of the dangerous cadmium levels in the rice. After the investigation, they found that the contaminated rice was purchased from 7 different rice mills, who were later all filed for investigation. Cadmium, a heavy metal, is easily absorbed by rice crops and gets concentrated in the grains. While naturally present in minute quantities in soil, industrial discharge and some fertilizers can leech high levels of cadmium into the soil, which gets further absorbed into crops. To make matters worse, when contaminated foods like rice get consumed by people, cadmium doesn’t leave the body and instead accumulates in their bones and organs, leading to cadmium poisoning. At high levels, this can cause further issues such as kidney failure, anemia, and osteoporosis.