Different types of rice grains imported from 11 different countries and available on the Kuwaiti retail market were collected for heavy metal analysis. The surveyed rice samples were grouped according to their country of origin into four different regions namely Asia, Europe, Middle East, and North America. The samples were analyzed for total arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The data showed that the highest geometric means (GMs) of total As, Cd, Pb, and Hg contents were in rice samples imported from Europe, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, respectively. The total As, Cd, Pb, and Hg concentrations in the analyzed rice samples were compared to the heavy metal content of 5800 rice samples from 25 different countries reported in the literature; furthermore, the heavy metal (total As, Cd, Pb, and Hg) concentrations determined in this study were implemented to calculate the daily dietary intake of toxic metals for the general population in the state of Kuwait, while the collected ones from the literature were implemented to calculate and then compare the daily dietary intake of toxic metals for the general population in 29 different countries around the world.
Keywords: Arsenic; Cadmium; Heavy metals; Lead; Mercury; Middle East; Rice.