Chinese are eating heavy metal polluted rice

Some 10 percent of rice sold in China is contaminated with cadmium, a chemical that leads to softening of the bones and kidney failure.

In 2002, a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture showed that 28.4 percent of the surveyed rice is contaminated with lead, and 10.3 percent with cadmium. Also, survey done by professor Pan Genxing and his research group from the Nanjing Agricultural University in 2007 showed that about 10 percent of the rice on the market contains excessive cadmium.

The substance was mostly detected in rice produced in southern parts of China including Jiangxi, Hunan and Guangdong provinces. And residents in several places where cadimium pollution is heavy, such as Sidi village, Yangshuo county, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, are suspected of having the symptoms of itai-itai disease, which is characterized by pain in the joints and the spine.

Rice is the main food in Chinese people’s diets, but not many people pay attention to the serious problem of heavy metal contamination in rice. The problem of polluted rice stems from the soil polluted with heavy metals discharged from massive mining operations and other industrial activities over the years.

According to a study by Nanjing Agricultural University. other chemical substances have also been detected in rice from other experiments.

Mother Nature is has a fair system of rewards and penalties. We are supposed to be responsible for what we did. There is no denying that during this period, we should set priority on economic, social and technological development. However, if not based a sustained level, we will have problems today, not mentioning future. Keeping a balance between the two really pose a challenging question for the whole country, maybe the whole world.

About Shuang An

Shuang An is a first year graduate in Public Relations at USC Anneberg School. She has a BA in Chinese Language and Literature. She is interested in management of new emerging media.
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