Best Way To Remove Up To 82% Of Arsenic From Rice

Rice contains varying amounts of arsenic. Does soaking rice remove arsenic? The answer is yes – most of it – but read further for the recommended ways to remove it.

Not all rice contains high arsenic levels.

Rice with the least arsenic is Basmati rice from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and Jasmine rice from Thailand:

Basmati Rice
(view on amzn)

Dynasty Jasmine Rice
(view on amzn)

How to Prepare & Cook Rice to Remove Most Arsenic

  1. Soak your rice overnight – this opens up the grain and allows the arsenic to escape
  2. Drain the rice and rinse thoroughly with fresh water
  3. For every part rice add five parts water and cook until the rice is tender – do not allow it to boil dry.
  4. Drain the rice and rinse again with hot water to get rid of the last of the cooking water.

Those instructions are sourced from a report via in association with Professor Andrew Meharg (Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Member of the Royal Irish Academy).

Similar advice is recommended from other trusted sources listed below.

Significantly higher geometric means of creatinine-corrected urinary concentrations of total arsenic (TAs) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) were found in participants who consumed rice more than twice per week, compared to the reference group.”

Rice consumption and urinary concentrations of arsenic in US adults

Should I be concerned about arsenic in Rice?

Yes, I believe so. Particularly if you consume rice more than two times a week. For some cultures, rice is a staple in their diets and arsenic is a major concern.

Being a preparedness site, I know that many people store white rice for the long term. It’s easy to store rice and it contains significant calories for those who prepare for food disruptions. Rice is a great combination with beans (nutritionally).

[ Read: Calories per pound of rice ]

[ Read: Rice & Beans | A Survival Combination ]

With that said, I felt it important to suggest adjustments to preparation and cooking of rice for those who may eat it fairly often.

Ratio of Water & Rice for Cooking to Help Remove Arsenic

During the cooking process, much of the arsenic leaves the rice and enters the cooking water.

If you cook your rice to dryness or use a rice cooker, the arsenic is absorbed back into the rice.

However, if you use more water, so that it is not all reabsorbed, much of the arsenic remains in the liquid instead (which can be discarded).

5 Parts Water | 1 Part Rice

Prof. Meharg’s testing found that when using 5 times as much water as rice when cooking, only 43% of the arsenic remained in the rice.

Combined with Rice Soak Overnight

When this method is combined with soaking the rice overnight before cooking, only 18% of the arsenic remained in the rice.

Remove Arsenic from Rice

Rice With The Least Arsenic

“Until this all gets sorted out, consumers shouldn’t be overly concerned,” says John Duxbury, a soil chemist at Cornell University .

Nevertheless, rice fanciers might note that both Duxbury and Meharg found basmati rice imported from India and Pakistan and jasmine rice from Thailand to contain the least arsenic.

Take Home Message

Arsenic in rice may be a serious concern for those who consume it regularly.

These people may be at risk of developing arsenic-related health problems.

Though if you eat rice in moderation as a part of a varied diet, it will likely be a non issue.

If rice is a large part of your diet, make sure to follow the preparation and cooking advice given above to reduce arsenic from your rice.

Sources include:

[ Read: Thermal Slow Cooker ]


  1. Hmmm,
    Idunno folks,
    Ive been eating rice all my life, nice sticky white rice, plate lunches, breakfast, sushi, riceballs, you name it,
    Almost everybody i know eats it too, no different than anyone who rarely eats it,
    Oh well, to each his own eh,
    Ill stick with rice as a staple

    1. Tommyboy,
      I’m not suggesting that regular rice eaters should stop eating rice. And I’m not suggesting that heavy rice eaters are going to keel over.

      I’m simply pointing out some interesting information regarding the fact there is indeed arsenic in rice.

      Some much worse than others.

      It was helpful to discover that most of the arsenic can be eliminated by altering the preparation and cooking procedure as outlined in the article.

      That’s it. Practical, sensible. Take it or leave it.

      1. 😎👍🏻
        All good, i get it,
        The biggest variable is where the rice was grown and where the water for it was sourced.
        Some areas have a higher concentration of arsenic in the soil, naturally occuring but still higher in some areas and it does leech into crops, especially high in areas that are new to growing that crop utilizing surface water that may have flowed through recently disturbed sediment.

    2. Sounds like you’re eating white rice, not brown. Brown rice has more fiber and nutrients, but also more arsenic.

      1. And brown rice doesnt make as good a sushi, nor does it grind into that nice white flour that makes the best tempura, there is something about hot sticky white rice and teriyaki that just says comfort food, orfor that matter white rice with anything smothered in gravy!

        1. Kula you are killing me. I have rice and Cantonese stir fry for lunch, hours from now.

          -Jasmine rice for everyday
          -Day old Jasmine for fried rice
          -Calrose rice for sushi or inari
          -Basmati rice for curries
          -Brown rice for special occasions or berry, nut, herb concoctions, goes bad too quickly

          Arsenic, despite being listed as a carcinogen was used 150 years ago to treat a wide range of cancers. This is a threat to the medical mafia so they restrict modern use (arsenic trioxide) to be used as a first line standard of care for Leukemia.

          chemsee dot com has a $20 test (with quantity discounts) for trace arsenic, might be a good idea to test random prep samples.

        2. Guys, Stop….. :-) I’m sitting here thinking about the PB&J I have for lunch that I really enjoy. Now I think I might have to head into town to have some sushi & sashimi. They have a “Love Boat for 2” that I can greedily polish off myself… I love to roll my own but to get good fish I’d have to head into the city. Too far….

        3. Well DT thisll make you drool,
          Bought a 60# blue fin Ahi from a guy on the side of the road last week,,,
          Its a lot of sashimi!
          Im not super picky so froze most of it, can just pull a slab out and turn it into sashimi or poke or sear it off rubbed down with Cajun seasoning and have it with a salad with wasabi vinegarette or maybe sauteed with a nice lemon/butter sauce

        4. That’s great!! When I lived there we would go out with a charter called Live Bait. Go out about a mile to catch the little ones that we’d use for bait when we went out further to catch the Mahi Mahi. We’d get back in and would cut up one of the Mahi’s to eat right there on the dock. Nothing fresher…..

        5. Kula,
          My two cents….brown goes rancid pretty quickly. Even if stored in mylar.

  2. Disease, Lead poising, Infection, In-laws & other idiot family members – all ways to die during shtf. Great Ken now I have to worry about my Rice!

    One one thing I would mention about the removal process. This will consume a lot of additional fresh purified water. You may need to purchase a few extra filters just to handle producing additional fresh water for rice soaking.

    1. White Cracker,
      The good thing is that Berkey Water Filters will purify 3,000 gallons per filter element! So a typical pair of Black Berkey elements will purify 6,000 gallons. That is a S-load of water (e.g. for cooking rice ;) ). I’m glad I have my Berkeys!

      Travel Berkey – The Smallest Berkey Countertop Water Filter

      Regarding fuel consumption for cooking rice, I wrote this article awhile ago which may interest you:

      Thermal Slow Cooker by Thermos


      How to Cook Rice with 80% Less Fuel

      and then there’s this,

      Cooking Without Electricity | Solar Oven Cooker

      1. Ken, you’re right. I will never be without my Berkey Royale. It’s an awesome filter.

  3. I have read about this before, then I think it was CaliRefugee who mentioned it in a comment yesterday….got me thinking. We had rabbit fried rice for our evening meal yesterday, too. lol

    I might pre-soak our rice from now on, but cooking it in a large quantity of water seems bizarre.

    To be honest, I am more concerned about our dog food. We use enriched brown rice in their daily feed, and they eat rice twice a day. I suppose this will change how we prepare that rice, too.

    This does bring up the question of commercial dry dog food that is made with rice. For people who buy their dog food, maybe it would be smart to switch over to a different grain than rice?

    1. I already cook rice 2 to 1…one cup rice/2 cups water. add rice to cool water, boil, turn to simmer, covered for 18 minutes. Perfect rice every time. Not dry.

      1. Hi JJ! How have you been?

        That’s the standard ratio to cook most rice. I add my rice after the water boils though.

        Of course, all of this will be changed when I switch over to cooking with more water and a pre-soak.

  4. Arsenic-free Rice, Soup-style:

    Presoak rice grains.
    Drain all water after soaking 6-10 hours.
    Fill large soup-pot with lots of fresh water.
    Bring water to boil.
    Add rice, making sure you have more than enough water….remember, we are making Rice Soup.
    Cook required length of time, until rice is cooked nicely (dry and fluffy is not the goal here).
    Drain all water from soup-pot.
    Arsenic-free rice is ready to eat.

  5. Will prepare the rice this way since I use it in achd’s food for additional protien. Had been planning on cooking rice for make ahead meals so will use this method in the next couple of days.

    Thanks Ken for this information.

  6. When the SHTF you will find me holding my sniper rifle protecting my family and worring like hell if my bowl of rice in hand is going to kill me. Now, let’s keep this rice thing in perspective.

    1. Yes, within the big picture of a such a breakdown, this will be among the least of one’s concerns.

      However this site is not ‘just’ about that kind of event. I also enjoy discovering and relaying practical sensible tidbits related to ‘modern survival’ life in general. Among other things.

      1. Ken;
        Now Ken, ’If/When’ I would agree that I’d be more concerned with Lead Poisoning traveling at 3000FPS than that cup of Rice Soup and the Arsenic/Radiation in Rice that the Producers grew in Chernobyl
        In the same breath I’m very concerned about Uncle Joe and Aunt Martha being a burden in their death beds because of Arsenic Poisoning (or many/any health issues that can be avoided) and how are we going to support them now that the SHTF and he can’t hold that sniper rifle or defend the fort?

        Staying healthy is a definite part of the long term SHTF.

        Second side of the coin????

  7. I always knew there was a reason why I wasn’t a big fan of rice.
    Just gimme those pesticide laced taters, , GMO veggies, genetically modified meats.and chemically sprayed open skies.
    All washed down with some cool, tainted water……
    I’ll be just fine.😳

  8. Did I miss the reason why there is arsenic in rice? Fertilizer, rice paddies? By the way folks have you ever heard of the fertilizer used in some countries? Human excrement. Think not, think again.

    1. Mrs. USMCBG,
      A internet search will reveal lots of results. However to sum it up,

      “Rice efficiently absorbs arsenic from irrigation water, soil and even cooking water. Some of that arsenic is of natural origin, but pollution is often responsible for higher levels.”

      1. So to take the question further — where would arsenic’s origin be?

        Most of us have visions of rice paddies in the countryside. Why is your answer giving me the impression that rice is being grown near industrial waste sites?

  9. Answer is no. I have 15 buckets of rice. Did have 16 in 2009, but I eat a lot of rice…..-chicken stir fry, steamed vegetables, rice…love it!

  10. Arsenic toxicity is a subject near and dear as beloved offspring and I were living in Bangladesh when news broke in the late 1990s that that county’s water supply was contaminated. Turns out that about half the country’s wells were contaminated but not the ones we regularly used.

    Arsenic is a natural element found in the soil just about everywhere on earth. Bangladeshies, Eastern Bengalese prior to 1971, used to get all of their water from surface water. That’s one reason why the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh was established – chronic cholera. In the 1970s UNICEF began installing wells to bring clean water thus better health to the nation’s people. Well water is used for bathing, brushing teeth, laundry, drinking, cooking, watering livestock and crops, etc. In the early-mid 1990s some folks began showing signs of what was eventually diagnosed as arsenic toxicity. Most Bangladeshis eat rice as the main ingredient of EVERY meal. Turns out, unfortunately, the wells had been dropped into an arsenic bearing layer. Arsenic is readily excreted in urine, absent chronic exposure.

    In 2001, 10 parts per billion of arsenic was established as the threshold for drinking water in the U.S. I think an interesting paper discussing controversies on this subject is worth reading, if one is into all that.
    Personally am not too concerned about arsenic in my food given the level and length of exposure it took to be discovered in the folks I lived among for a while.

    As preppers, best thing we can do is have our private wells and water sources tested, and install appropriate water filters.

  11. As an asian dude on this site, I have to comment about the rice article:

    As a reminder for those interested in logistics: Family of 4-6 (2 adults and 2-4 grown children). would go through 6 – 8 80 lb sacks of rice per year. Later in college, I would major in economics. Back then, I was the teenaged kid loading and stacking the rice in the pantry. All the rice was Kokuho Rose, short grain pearl rice…I got real tired of eating rice as a kid.

    My grandparents lived into their late 80’s or mid 90’s despite smoking cigars. My father made it to mid 80’s despite smoking cigarettes for most of his adult life. In regards to arsenic in rice, I will do what I have been doing and take my chances. Most of those folks ate a lot more rice than I do.

    The message I will take away from this is to eat more pasta and noodles. Between pasta and Mexican food, I have many ways to take in my calories and no reason to get food fatigue by eating rice too much.

  12. wonder how much arsenic is in instant rice. I use some of that, including Minute Rice, Uncle Ben, store brands.

    1. 93-B …it is often prepared as a sweet rice. has a slight jasmine flavor.cooked almost exactly as a long grain white rice.

  13. Arsenic is that hush-hush substance found in higher than average levels in the diets of cultures where there’s virtually no cancer.

    Pharmaceuticals are now a trillion-dollar-per-year industry.

    1. I know of a now young man, diagnosis was cancer…Had failed ALL drug responses. only thing left to try was arsenic… He is alive today one out of 20?/in the trial… . he has a lot of issues… including severe nerve pain, foggy brain..(no telling what he was given before the arsenic..) he is handicapped for the remainder of his life. He HAS life where others do not. His mother has been doing some form of detox on him on a regular basis…


  15. NRP,
    Arsenic poisoning does a lot more than make you short. does brain damage. cognitive damage. Look up heavy metal poisoning and do a de-tox, if you eat rice often…parsley and cilantro do help with detox of metals.. i don’t remember what else…should also have Cordyceps mushrooms in that regimen to protect your kidneys..
    Many rice fields are fertilized via chicken manure.. chickens are give arsenic to kill bugs/disease in large grow operations… it passes thru in poop… poop = fertilizer. rice plants uptake it..
    The good news is… much of the arsenic is in the hull of the rice and soaking the rice in warm water for 30 min to 2 hours and then rinsing it well can greatly reduce the amount of arsenic remaining in the rice.( we try to soak ours at least one hour) after soaking the rice it will take less water to cook it in, because it will have swollen..
    …I’m with Kula….400 lbs for one person is not even enough…considering all the different ways rice can be prepared in casseroles, ethnic dishes, as deserts and as flour./thickener… each of us probably needs more.
    Cooked with some meat, ole Blue will thank you for a filling and tasty meal.
    …… it can also be used to bulk up your chicken feed. , must be soaked..before giving… or cooked as a bread/ cereal.. w/old veggies(not spoiled- but anything in a can that is still technically good but has an off ‘can ‘taste…powdered milk, any grains that have gone rancid./rancid oils. nutritional shakes you bought and did not like, soy bean products… broken/damaged eggs.old baby formula powder… fresh vegetable peels, ends…scraps. left over gravy…stale /rancid cereals. served still warm your hens will thank you for it.

    1. Just Sayin’;
      Not a huge Rice Coinsure here, I do cook some up probably once a week to go with the Penang Curry Chicken.
      Other than that I just keep a few hundred pounds around for when the Balloon Goes Up.
      Thinking that 400 pounds is more than enough, though.
      I agree with a good de-tox, the old organs need a good cleaning at times. All the way from the Taste Buds to the outlet orifice.
      AND a good fasting never hurt.

  16. now that I know about the arsenic in rice I will be more careful and soak it overnight to reduce the arsenic content thanks

  17. Another way to cut the remaining arsenic in half, regardless of previous steps, is to do a “double-boil process”. Halfway through the “5+1” boiling of the rice, quickly strain it and dump into a second vessel with a similar amount of clean, already boiling water. Then finish the boil in this second water volume. This “zeros” the concentration of arsenic in the boiling water so additional arsenic will be pulled from the rice.

  18. Paraboiling the rice is supposed to help reduce the arsenic.

    In paraboiling the rice, I think adding alpha lipoic acid to the rice,
    should chealate the arsenic out of the rice.

    This should reduce the arsenic in the rice way more than just
    paraboiling it.

Comments are closed.