The presence of several trace elements, heavy metals, and antimony in polyethylene terephthalate-bottled local raw cow milk samples of Iğdır region in Turkey was investigated. The milk samples were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry after microwave-assisted digestion. Milk samples were categorized into three groups according to the element level intensity in the sample. While 70% of samples showed 2.5 times the maximum Turkish and European permissible level of lead, the lowest lead-contaminated sample exhibited 1.25 times this level. All the examined samples exceeded the maximum permissible limit administrated for arsenic and 35% of samples exhibited 5 times this limit. Results showed 40% of samples contain an antimony level higher than the Turkish maximum allowable concentration. The high antimony content of raw milk samples may be related to the release of antimony from the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. This study showed high contamination levels of the most toxic trace elements, i.e., lead and arsenic in milk and possible antimony contamination from PET bottles which may cause many health hazards for the consumers.
Keywords: Antimony; Heavy metal; PET bottle; Raw cow milk; Trace element.