Safety of Sea Vegetables
According to the The George Mateljan Foundation sea vegetables are extremely rich in minerals including magnesium, calcium, iron, and iodine. However, they act as a sponge in waters that contain heavy metal pollutants—including arsenic and lead. Arsenic is the main problem and all sea vegetables including arame, kombu, nori, and wakame and especially hijiki can contain high content of these heavy metals.B etween 2000-2005, England, New Zealand, and Canada issued public health recommendations advising against consumption of uncontrolled hijiki. The George Mateljan Foundation recommends avoidance of hijiki unless available in the form of certified organic hijiki.
In 1993 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set .0003 milligrams of inorganic arsenic per kilogram of body weight as the Reference Dose to meet safety levels which means an adult weighing 150 lbs. can consume about 20 micrograms of inorganic arsenic every day and stay beneath the RfD level.
Other sea vegetables have minimal risk. A British study found wakame to contain an average of 3 milligrams arsenic per kilogram of wakase.
Eating uncontrolled sea vegetables on a regular basis could prove to be a health risk, whereas occasional consumption should not pose a risk.
Sea vegetables have an incredibly rich mineral content and other unique health benefits and the risks can be prevented through the purchase of certified organic sea vegetables! Most certified organic sea vegetables can be purchased in dried form and reconstituted at home. Also, methods of preparing sea vegetables can make a difference in the amount of arsenic found in edible portions.
(Source: The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or advertising, is a new force for change to help make a healthier you and a healthier world.)