Heavy metal and metalloids intake risk assessment in the diet of a rural population living near a gold mine in the Peruvian Andes (Cajamarca)

Food Chem Toxicol. 2014 Sep;71:254-63. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2014.06.018. Epub 2014 Jun 30.


This study evaluates the diet composition of a rural population near a gold mine in the Cajamarca district of Peru. The main consumed items by this population were tubers and cereals, and the mean energy intake (1990 kcal) was shown not to cover the recommended intake values for the male population. The concentrations of As, Cd, Hg, Pb, Zn, Al, Cr and, Cu in drinking water and food samples of items contributing to 91% of this diet (145 samples, 24 different items) were determined and used to calculate their daily intakes for risk assessment. The As, Cd and Pb daily intakes exceeded the limit values established by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), entailing serious concerns for the population's health. Moreover, the intake values of As and Pb were shown to be higher, the closer to the gold mine the studied population was.

Keywords: Cajamarca; Gold mine; Heavy metal; Nutrient intake; Risk assessment; Rural diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Gold*
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / toxicity*
  • Mining*
  • Peru
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rural Population*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Gold