Total and inorganic arsenic in marketed food and associated health risks for the Catalan (Spain) population

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Sep 28;59(18):10013-22. doi: 10.1021/jf2013502. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Inorganic arsenic (iAs) is considered to be a human carcinogen. In this paper, total (As) and iAs contents of 215 food products and drinks (i.e., seafood, fruits and vegetables, meat products, oils and fats, rice and rice products, seasonings, and alcoholic drinks) marketed in Catalonia (Spain) were quantified by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The analytical method described was used for different food products, obtaining feasible results without the need to couple LC-ICP-MS for iAs. Daily As and iAs intakes for the average adult Catalan consumer were estimated at 354 and 6.1 μg/day/person, respectively, using consumption data from the Catalan Nutrition Survey (ENCAT). The highest As content was found in seafood, contributing 96% of dietary As intake, whereas rice presented the highest iAs values, corresponding to 67% of dietary iAs intake. As cooking process may affect iAs content, boiled rice was evaluated, showing an iAs reduction (up to 86%) when using higher water volumes (30:1 water/rice ratio) than those used in previous studies. This iAs exposure was slightly below the exposure risk range stated by the European Food Safety Authority (0.3-8 μg/kg of body weight/day), although the possibility of a risk to the population with high rice consumption cannot be excluded.

MeSH terms

  • Arsenic / analysis*
  • Carcinogens / analysis
  • Diet
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Safety
  • Humans
  • Oryza / chemistry
  • Risk Factors
  • Seafood / analysis
  • Spain


  • Carcinogens
  • Arsenic