Report on the levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury in imported rice grain samples


In an attempt to know whether highly consumed food might contribute to metal exposure, we analyzed cadmium, lead, and mercury in 27 rice grain samples commonly consumed in Saudi Arabia by atomic absorption spectrometry after acid digestion. The mean concentrations and ranges of cadmium, lead, and mercury in tested rice samples were 20.261 (range <DL-178.026 µg/kg), 134.819 (range 23.1–1529.0 µg/kg), and 3.186 (range <DL-43.573 µg/kg), respectively. The results showed high concentrations of metals and in some cases exceeded the Provisional Tolerance Weekly Intake (PTWI) recommended by FAO/WHO. It was also noted that different rice grain samples had varying concentrations of these metals. Because the bulk of literature warns against the cumulative effects of prolonged heavy metal exposure, regular consumption of rice by local populations might pose potential health problems.

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Correspondence to Iman Al-Saleh.

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Al-Saleh, I., Shinwari, N. Report on the levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury in imported rice grain samples. Biol Trace Elem Res 83, 91–96 (2001).

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Index Entries

  • Cadmium
  • lead
  • mercury
  • rice
  • atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • vapour generator accessory