Warning labels, recalls, danger signs – they’re everywhere you turn these days,” says ER physician Dr. Travis Stork. “But do you really know what they all mean?”
The Doctors reveals the startling truths behind the harmful, toxic and poisonous substances that people come in contact with possibly each and every day.
Arsenic Levels in Rice?
A study found in Consumer Reports states that eating rice once per day could increase arsenic levels in the body by up to 44 percent. “Here’s the thing about arsenic – it’s a naturally occurring element,” Dr. Travis explains. “Arsenic does get into ground water. It’s also used in some insecticides and weed killers [and] can be carcinogenic.”
The lead scientist on the study and Director of Safety at Consumer Reports, Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D. joins The Doctors via phone to further explain the alarming findings.
“Our goal is certainly not to alarm people, but really to inform them about [the] problem,” Dr. Rangan says. “[Rice] is a food commodity that likes to take up arsenic from the soil. As foods go, it tends to collect one of the highest levels of arsenic, just because of how rice is grown.
“[Consumer Reports are] telling consumers to moderate their consumption of various rice products so that they can mitigate their risk,” Dr. Rangan says.
For adults, the study recommends limiting rice consumption to no more than two ¼ cup servings of dry rice per week.
“The majority of Americans eat about two-and-a-half servings a week, so it’s not a huge cut from what most people are eating. When it comes to cold rice cereals, [Consumer Reports] think that kids should keep their exposure limited to about a cup-and-a-half of rice cereal per week,” she adds.
Based on the Consumer Reports study, children should not be drinking rice milk or rice beverages on a regular basis under the age of five.
When preparing to cook rice, it helps to rinse it thoroughly until the excess water drains clear instead of cloudy. In addition, cooking rice in larger volumes of water – one cup of rice to six cups of water – has been shown in some studies to reduce the levels of inorganic arsenic by 30 percent.
• Read the FDA's response to the Consumer Reports study.
Intentional Arsenic Poisoning: A Marriage Nightmare
Watch a shocking clip from Investigation Discovery’s Who The (Bleep) Did I Marry? Donna and Jim had been married for years and seemed to have the picture-perfect union; however, during one summer, Donna’s health began to inexplicably decline.
One day, she developed delirium, accompanied by a fever of 105 degrees. She was immediately hospitalized and doctors conducted a multitude of tests to determine the cause of her condition, including a heavy metal screening for poisons. The results came back negative and her husband was the ideal nurse when Donna’s symptoms were at their worst. Despite Jim’s attentive care, Donna got sicker and sicker with each passing day.
“I just felt that I was dying,” Donna says.
Donna soon fell into a fit a seizures and her heart stopped multiple times. Doctors were able to revive her, but she was left speechless and paralyzed from the nose down.
One of Donna’s nurses happened to overhear a sexually explicit phone conversation that Jim was having with another woman, and the word “arsenic” was also mentioned. The nurse informed the attending physicians, who ordered another heavy metal screening and the results were astonishing. Donna had almost 10 times the lethal amount of arsenic in her system. Fortunately, doctors were able to save her life and rid her body of the toxic substance.
Donna joins The Doctors via phone to further explain her terrifying ordeal. Plus, learn some of the non-specific symptoms of arsenic poisoning.
“I’m doing real well [today],” Donna says. “I still have only partial feeling in my hands and feet, and I have to worry about walking. But, I [have] leg braces, I’m remarried, I’m singing, I’m dancing and life is good.”
“If you’re having these non-specific, bizarre symptoms, you really have to [determine] what could be a natural exposure [versus] a scenario like this,” Dr. Travis adds.
Allergic Reaction to Antibiotics
“Allergies to antibiotics are quite common,” Dr. Travis says. “If you’re being prescribed an antibiotic [that you’re allergic to], you can have a life-threatening reaction. You can die from it. Not only make sure you’re getting the right antibiotic but feel free to ask [if you] really need an antibiotic. The majority of antibiotics prescribed in [the United States] don’t need to be prescribed.”
Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning
“[Alcohol poisoning] is a real problem in colleges because you’re drinking an obscene amount of alcohol and all of the effects of that alcohol may not even be at play until you pass out,” Dr. Travis warns. “You can literally pass out and your blood alcohol concentration can continue to rise.
“The reason that people die is [that] you have involuntary reflexes that are basically knocked out if your blood alcohol level gets too high,” Dr. Travis explains. “If your blood alcohol level goes beyond a certain point, that gag reflex no longer works and so you can asphyxiate in your sleep and die.”
See the grave dangers of consuming too much alcohol, and how elevated blood alcohol concentration impairs judgment.
“If you cannot get your friend to respond to you, [he or she] needs to be in the emergency department, where [he or she] can be closely watched and given IV fluids if necessary, Dr. Travis adds. “Sometimes you need a breathing tube to get you through the night; otherwise, you will not wake up the next morning.”
“You’re not really being poisoned by the sun, even though that term is used quite often,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says. “It’s just a more severe sunburn. You develop more severe symptoms – fever, chills, headaches, nausea [and] dizziness, all in response to that exposure to ultraviolet light and some radiation.”
See how to treat the illness and learn about other conditions that can arise from being hypersensitive to sunlight.
Small Toy, Big Problem: The Doctors’ Investigative Exclusive
The Doctors’ Investigative Reporter, Melanie Woodrow, uncovers the startling facts on a children’s toy that may pose dangers to children that every parent should know about.
“Unlike something else that would pass through the body, it grows as it moves through the body and it gets stuck,” Melanie says. “And here’s something else – this ball did not show up on a regular X-ray.”