Background: Heavy metal pollution has always been a major cause of environmental contamination and considered a concern for food health. Rice is the most popular food among Iranians and the presence of heavy metals in rice as trace level has received special attention because they are directly related to health. In Iran, it is customary for people to wash and soak the rice before cooking. The aim of this research was to investigate the contents of heavy metals (Pb, Cd and As) in Iranian and imported rice after washing and soaking in Kermanshah in 2011.
Methods: 21 samples of the most widely consumed brands of Iranian and imported rice were purchased from local supermarkets in Kermanshah, Iran. 3 samples of each brand were collected and specific volumes of each sample were digested with acid. Heavy metal contents in the digested samples were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry.
Results: The results showed that the concentration means of Pb, Cd and As in the Iranian rice samples were 275.17 µg/kg, 13.28 µg/kg, 53.69 µg/kg, respectively before washing and concentration means after washing and soaking were 236.96 µg/kg, 12.31 µg/kg, 44.06 µg/kg, respectively. The concentration means of Pb, Cd, As in imported rice samples were 215.71 µg/kg, 8.17 µg/kg, 45.92 µg/kg, respectively before washing and 183.59 µg/kg, 7.16 µg/kg, 37.61 µg/kg, respectively after washing and soaking.
Conclusion: Results showed that washing and soaking decreased contents of Pb, Cd and As (15%, 7.2% and 18%, respectively). It should be noted that washing and soaking are important factors for decreasing heavy metals in the rice distributed in Kermanshah.