Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 19th 2014 Contents A36
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, July 19, 2014
MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
IN collaboration WITH
MINISTRY OF THE
PEOPLE AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
July 21, 2014
9.30am - 4.00pm
Conference Hall, Couva Pt. Lisas
Chamber of Commerce,
Campden Road, Couva
Dr. The Honourable Rupert Griffith
Minister of Science and
The Honourable Vernella Toppin
Minister of State in the
Ministry of the Social
Older Persons Information Centre
800-6742 or 625-9221
Ext. 3449, 3630 or 3634
For further information:
MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Tel. : 623-4546/627-0588 Ext. 2085
MINISTRY OF THE PEOPLE AND SOCIAL
Division of Ageing
Tel. : 625-9221Ext. 3630
The is geared
towards the sensitisation and education of
senior citizens 55 years and over in Trinidad
and Tobago to the benefits and advantages of
Information and Communications Technology
and its ease of use in their daily lives. This is
the second sensitisation seminar and
features dynamic presentations, hands
on learning as well as a wide array of
Governments have agreed the first international
standards limiting cancer-causing arsenic pol-
lution in rice, a key move to protect consumers
of what is a staple food for billions, the UN said
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, the top
global decision-making body for food standards,
issued the decision at its ongoing annual meeting
"Arsenic is an environmental contaminant. It
occurs naturally and is taken up by plants from
the water and soil when they re growing, in par-
ticular rice," said World Health Organisation food
safety co-ordinator Angelika Tritscher.
The commission set a maximum of 0.2 mil-
ligrammes of arsenic per kilo of polished rice---
the product that is traded and consumed.
"The main driver for Codex standards is trade.
But when we talk about safety standards, the main
purpose is clearly to protect the health of con-
sumers," said Tritscher.
Arsenic occurs in the Earth s crust. Some of the
heaviest concentrations are in Asia, where rice is
A key problem is paddy fields irrigated with
water pumped from shallow wells containing
Heavy rice consumption has been found to com-
pound the impact of arsenic in drinking water.
"Since rice is a very important stable food for
many countries and many regions of the world,
a significant part of the global population is affect-
ed," Tritscher said.
Bangladesh has been a top concern, with tens
of millions of rural dwellers exposed via wells
drilled in the 1970s in "access-to-water" pro-
Parts of Cambodia, China, India and Vietnam
have also been affected.
Long-term exposure can cause cancer and skin
lesions, Tritscher said. It is also linked to heart
disease, diabetes and damage to the nervous system
Arsenic rarely grabs headlines in the same way
as other food crises.
"It s not like you have an immediate, acute effect
like you have with a salmonella outbreak," said
No safe exposure level
The 186-nation Codex commission is run by
the WHO and fellow UN agency the Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Its standards must be set down into national
laws to take effect.
"We all expect our food to be safe and of good
quality. We don t expect to get sick from our food,"
said senior FAO food standards officer Tom Hei-
The rice decision followed years of research
which fed into a policy-making process helmed
by China and Japan.
"One of the core principles of Codex standards
is that they are science-based," Tritscher said.
The commission also set out ways to reduce
They include growing crops in raised beds instead
of flooded fields, drying out paddies before harvest,
and regular checks on water supplies. (AFP)
UN says Govts
agree to stem
arsenic in rice
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
Indian labourers plant rice paddy cuttings in a field on the outskirts
of Amritsar on July 5.
Indian customers eat egg rice at a roadside stall in Hyderabad on
June 3. AFP PHOTOS
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