Saturday, 11 February 2017

Our food is poisoned

 A recent report has surfaced suggesting that Rice is poisonous and that consuming it may lead to diseases like cancer or growth problem or even prove to be fatal at times as it contains high amounts of arsenic in it. Intrigued by this I started to do my research to find out the truth and facts behind this claim because being in India and rice being our staple food, I grew concerned. During my research I found that not only is arsenic present in rice but in many other foods that we consume and that the entire world is consuming this poison without knowing the truth behind it.

In this blog I’m going to describe the ways in which we are consuming this poisonous chemical without even knowing that what we are eating is poison.

For those of you who don’t know much about Arsenic, let me shed some light on it.

Arsenic is a toxic chemical element which can be found in many naturally occurring minerals usually in a combination with other minerals like sulfur and metals. The metallic use of Arsenic comes generally in Car batteries and ammunitions and as far as food is concerned, Arsenic is used as a pesticide and insecticide. In addition, contaminated water is another major source of Arsenic deposition in our food.

That being said, now, how does Arsenic gets mixed with our food?

The most common source of Arsenic is mineralized ground water and it is in this contaminated ground water that our farmers do agriculture. Since, this contaminated ground water is the major source for arsenic getting mixed with our foods, I wanted to know how Arsenic gets mixed with ground water.

In the deeper layer of our soil, we have these bed of rocks which we studied in geography in our schools but what they didn’t teach us is that some of these rocks have high quantity of arsenic in them and when ground water comes in contact with these rocks, the water gets contaminated with arsenic and we in turn use those water for irrigation and agriculture. This is how a very toxic poison that is present in the deeper levels of ground gets deposited in our body.

The situation is more dangerous with those crops and grains that have deep roots and majorly depend on ground water for their growth. It is said that addition of chemicals such as sulfur, phosphorous and iron oxides to the soils can reduce the toxicity of Arsenic which again forces me to ask the question that are they not chemicals as well? Do they also not affect our health?

Of all the crops it has been proved that Rice is the grain that gets affected by arsenic the most. For more than half of the world, rice is a staple food and all that we are consuming is more poison.

The other ways how we are depositing arsenic inside our body is as follows :

  1. Arsenic is fed to poultry animals to increase their weight, their feed efficiency and to increase their immunity (just so that these sellers can earn more money)
  2. Even after the poison free poultry act 2009 ban many broiler foods contain arsenic and that is something that we consume a lot
  3. Arsenic is intentionally fed to chicken that are grown for human consumption
  4. Arsenic gets deposited in animals such as lambs, cows, pork that are fed arsenic contaminated crops and grains and we unknowing of what it is eat those spicy and juicy meat
  5. Privately dug well have high risk of arsenic deposition and many are using it as drinking water 

Non-veg lovers beware. In addition, excessive arsenic contaminated ground water is present in Bangladesh and nearby countries. Not only that, major countries like USA, Canada and China also have high rate of arsenic consuming people.

Every year hundreds of millions of people are consuming high risk arsenic contaminated food and water and lakhs of people die every year because of this and for so long I didn’t even have a clue that something like this is even possible.

The more I research and gather knowledge about this, the more freaked out I become. When we get diseases like diarrhea or urination problem or something even as small as a stomach ache we think that it’s because of some junk food that we ate but the actual and underlying reason is arsenic. Not only that extreme consumption of Arsenic could result in cancer or may be something fatal.

In the middle of writing this blog I had to get up for lunch and the first thing that came to my mind is a I eating poison?

There are several steps that can be taken to reduce this poison from getting mixed with our food, like

  1. Small scale and large scale ground water purification
  2. Stop feeding arsenic to poultry animals just to make money
  3. Usage of natural fertilizers and pesticides
If it is indeed a poison that we are consuming, then why aren't we affected yet?
Well, may be our ancestors were really too smart and knew about a lot of things, including about this arsenic, which is why for hundreds of years we have been washing rice and boiling it before cooking, cleaning the meat and fish properly before cooking them but that does not mea that we are not affected by arsenic. Cleaning our food before cooking doesn't ensure that arsenic is completely removed from it. It is like a slow poison that will definitely affect us in the long run.

This is a serious issue people. The most important thing for every one of us is our health and food is our major source for a good and healthy life. Now that even that is at stake, is it not something that is worth fighting for and spreading awareness? Something must be done, for the future generations at least if not for us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.