Researchers at Monmouth University have found lead in imported rice at levels 20 to 120 times higher than levels established as safe by federal regulators, reports the International Science Times.
The findings were presented by Dr. Tsanangurayi Tongesayi at a meeting of the American Chemical Society and will also be published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health.
The highest levels of lead were found in rice imported from Taiwan and China.
The FDA says it will look at the findings to determine if action needs to be taken.
Those most affected by the findings are Asian Americans who eat more rice than the general population. Lead is known to slow brain development and cause damage to the nervous system.
“We just hope that our results will inform public policy and will be used to create stricter regulations on lead in rice, or be used to come up with eating advisories like [those] with mercury in fish,” Tongesayi told Time.
He says some people may want to consider reducing their consumption of rice.