Human exposure to arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead from foods in Catalonia, Spain: temporal trend

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Sep;142(3):309-22. doi: 10.1007/s12011-010-8787-x. Epub 2010 Jul 30.


The main purpose of this study was to establish the temporal trend in the daily dietary intake of arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), and lead (Pb) by the population of Catalonia, Spain. Concentrations of these elements were determined in samples of a number of food items widely consumed in that country. The dietary intake of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb was then estimated for various age-gender groups of population: children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. In the present study, the dietary intakes of As, inorganic As, Cd, Hg, methylmercury, and Pb were 328.37, 16.22, 19.47, 11.39, 10.25, and 101.47 μg/day, respectively, while in a previous (2006) survey, the dietary intakes of As, inorganic As, Cd, Hg, methylmercury, and Pb were 261.01, 33.17, 9.80, 12.61, 11.35, and 45.13 μg/day, respectively. The estimated intakes of Cd, Hg, and Pb are still notably lower than the respective PTWIs, while that of inorganic As is also lower than its BMDL(01). In summary, the results of this study indicate that, currently, the dietary intakes of As, Cd, Hg, and Pb should not mean additional health risks for the consumers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Food Analysis / methods
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Male
  • Mercury / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain
  • Young Adult


  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic