Risk perception of arsenic exposure from rice intake in a UK population

Mondal, D ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5144-626X, Mwale, Tasila, Xu, L, Matthews, H, Oyeka, AC, Lace-Costigan, GL ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4819-3625 and Polya, DA 2019, 'Risk perception of arsenic exposure from rice intake in a UK population' , Palgrave Communications, 5 (89) .

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In the UK, consumption of rice and rice-based products is on the rise but, notwithstanding public expressed concerns about such products as an exposure route for arsenic (e.g. BBC News report, 2017“Should I worry about arsenic in my rice?”) there are few, if any published data on public perceptions of risks associated with exposure to arsenic in rice. We therefore aimed to determine the risk perception of arsenic exposure from rice intake and factors that are associated with arsenic knowledge and whether or not this knowledge had an influence on rice consumption and cooking practices. A questionnaire, targeting participation of rice-eating ethnic minorities in Greater Manchester, UK, was administered to 184 participants. A multivariate generalized linear model was used to determine the factors associated with rice consumption behaviour, cooking practices, and risk perception. We show for the first time that the general population did not associate arsenic, which they perceive as toxic to health, with rice consumption. More than half of the participants knew about arsenic as a hazardous substance but less than ten percent knew that rice consumption could be an important route of arsenic exposure. Knowledge of arsenic was significantly lower in Asian/Asian British:Pakistanis (Pakistani) (OR: 0.006; 95% CI:0.00-0.03) and Asian/Asian British:Bangladeshis (Bangladeshi) (OR: 0.064; 95% CI:0.01-0.25) compared to White:English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British (White British). Moreover, Bangladeshis consumed three times more rice (OR: 2.92; 95% CI:1.73-4.93) compared to White British. Overall higher rice consumption was not associated with higher knowledge of the nutritional value of rice. Rinsing rice before cooking, an effective arsenic removal technique, was practised by 93% of the participants, however the most popular cooking method was the use of adequate water (rice to water ratio of 1:2) but not excess water (rice to water ratio of > 1:4), the latter being more effective in removing arsenic. Better education, higher weekly expenditure on food and prior knowledge of arsenic hazard were all significant factors positively influencing a change in behaviour to reduce arsenic exposure from rice intake.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Palgrave Communications
Publisher: Palgrave Communications
ISSN: 2055-1045
Related URLs:
Funders: NERC India-UK Water Quality award, UK-India Education and Research Initiative
Depositing User: USIR Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 12:30
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 02:19
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/51773

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