Objectives: The prophylactic effect of aspirin (at 80 mg/day) for the prevention of cardiovascular disease mortality has long been recognized. This study examined whether other salicylates are present in comparable quantities in the US food supply.
Methods: To estimate the order of magnitude for salicylates in the food supply, annual production data for selected synthetic salicylates were analyzed.
Results: Production figures for 1960 indicate exposure to salicylates of 250 mg/day per person, or 95 mg/day per person excluding aspirin. Trend data indicate a rise in the production of salicylates over time, reaching 341 mg/day per person, or 126 mg/day per person excluding aspirin, in 1970.
Conclusions: The US ingestion of salicylates with aspirinlike properties may have increased to the point that many susceptible individuals have received a beneficial effect that has contributed to the decline in cardiovascular disease mortality.