Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 295, Issue 1, pp 143–150

Toxic element composition of multani mitti clay for nutritional safety


DOI: 10.1007/s10967-012-1876-x

Cite this article as:
Waheed, S., Faiz, Y., Rahman, S. et al. J Radioanal Nucl Chem (2013) 295: 143. doi:10.1007/s10967-012-1876-x


Geophagy of multani mitti (MM) clay is very common in central Pakistan especially amongst women. It was therefore mandatory to establish baseline levels of toxic elements in this clay for its safe dietary consumption by consumers of different genders, age groups and physical states. Instrumental neutron activation analysis and atomic absorption spectrometry techniques were used to determine the nutritional safety of MM clay for oral intake. All quantified toxic elements were detected at trace levels with composition in the descending order; Pb > Br > As > Sb > Hg > Cd. Comparison of these elements in MM clay with other clays shows that As, Cd, and Pb, are lowest in MM clay while its Br and Hg contents are high. Highest weekly dietary intakes of As, Br, Cd, Hg, and Sb were found to be 18, 0.05, 1.6, 9.2 and 1.1 % of the respective recommended provisional tolerable weekly intakes. The findings of this study show that As, Br, Cd, Hg and Sb in MM clay are well below the tolerance levels. However its Pb concentration is very high and may pose health concerns. The data presented in this study can be used as national base level guideline for geophagy of MM clay by men, women (normal, pregnant and lactating) and children.


Atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS)ClayInstrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA)Multani mitti (MM)Provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI)Toxic elements

Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry Division, Directorate of SciencePakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)IslamabadPakistan