Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 120–132 | Cite as

Dietary Intake of Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury, and Lead by the Population of Catalonia, Spain

  • Roser Martí-Cid
  • Juan M. Llobet
  • Victoria Castell
  • José L. Domingo


The concentrations of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb) were determined in samples of food items widely consumed by the population of Catalonia, Spain. All samples were randomly acquired in 12 cities of Catalonia between March and June of 2006 and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The dietary intake of these elements was estimated for various age–gender groups of population: children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. In order to determine the temporal trend on the dietary exposure to As, Cd, Hg, and Pb, the current results were compared with those of a previous survey (2000). In the present market basket study, for a standard male adult of 70-kg body weight living in Catalonia, the dietary intakes of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb were 261.01, 9.80, 12.61, and 45.13 μg/day, respectively, while in the 2000 survey, these intakes were 223.59, 15.73, 21.22, and 28.37 μg/day, for As, Cd, Hg, and Pb, respectively. For As, the only food groups currently contributing with measurable amounts to intake of total As were fish and shellfish and cereals, while for Cd the highest contribution to total intake corresponded to pulses, tubers, and cereals. For Hg, the contribution was only due to fish and shellfish, while cereals were the group with the highest contribution to total Pb intake. The estimated intakes of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb are notably lower than the respective provisional tolerable weekly intakes, which indicate that these intakes should not mean additional health risks for the consumers.


Arsenic Cadmium Mercury Lead Foodstuffs Dietary intake Health risks 



This study was supported by the Catalan Food Safety Agency, Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roser Martí-Cid
    • 1
  • Juan M. Llobet
    • 2
  • Victoria Castell
    • 3
  • José L. Domingo
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health, School of Medicine“Rovira i Virgili” UniversityReusSpain
  2. 2.GRET-CERETOX, School of PharmacyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Catalan Food Safety Agency, Department of HealthGeneralitat de CatalunyaBarcelonaSpain

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