Rice is a staple food in many diets around the world. In addition to its nutrient and caloric content, rice can contain small amounts of arsenic, which in large doses is a toxin linked to multiple health conditions.?Arsenic occurs naturally in the soil, though its concentration is higher in areas where irrigation water contains arsenic. According to new study, rising temperatures caused by global warming could also cause higher amount of arsenic in rice by the end of the century. We need to remember that millions of people around the world rely on this crop, and we should work together on solving this problem.
A new study warns that rising temperatures caused by global warming could cause the amount of arsenic in rice to triple by the end of the century.
-“We know that more arsenic is released from soil at higher temperatures. Here we saw this response to temperature in the soil impact the arsenic content of rice grain,” said senior author Rebecca Neumann, a UW associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “We were working with soil that had relatively low arsenic levels, but the warmer temperatures still led to increased arsenic concentrations in the grains at ranges where we begin to have health concerns. If these results are representative of what we might expect for field-grown rice, then climate change could exacerbate the problem of arsenic-contaminated rice.”
– The test envisioned a future where the average temperature is 8°C warmer than today. The experiment has shown that these conditions would have a catastrophic impact on farming as a whole because the plants would be so stressed that they would fail to produce any usable grain.
The objective of the Paris agreement is to hold global average temperature at increase to 3°C above pre-industrial levels, with the hope of restricting it even further to just a 1.5°C rise. Green technology and policies could help meet those warming goals. When we’re thinking and planning for the future, we need to remember that rice touches a lot of people and we should work together on that.