Rice imported to the United States from Bhutan has shown alarmingly high level of lead.
US experts detected concentrations of lead ranging from six to 12 milligrams per kilogram in rice from several sources.
The researchers have concluded that the lead levels were found significantly high in samples from Bhutan, the Czech Republic, Italy, India and Thailand while the highest amounts were seen in the rice from China and Taiwan.
Infants and children consuming the rice would be exposed to lead levels 30 to 60 times higher than the tolerable safety limits set by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the study authors.
For Asian children, who consume more rice, exposures could be up to 120 times higher.
‘Such findings present a situation that is particularly worrisome given that infants and children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning,’ said study leader Dr Tsanangurayi Tongesayi, from Monmouth University in New Jersey.
The researchers are still in the process of analysing rice samples from Pakistan, Brazil and other countries.
These alarming reports have surfaced at the time Bhutan is claiming to be world’s first organic nation.