The main objective of the study was to evaluate the dietary intake of four toxic heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Hg, and Ni) in the main food groups among young Polish adults.
The researchers assumed that cereals would be a major or main food group, contributing in the highest degree to the overall intake of investigated metals. The second hypothesis presumed that, since the study was conducted is an agricultural one (Lublin), without heavy industry, the daily intake of all toxic elements would be below the safe levels of intake (PTWI or TDI).
The obtained results show that there is a high potential risk of developing nephrotoxicity through the dietary intake of Pb in the case of both genders. The dietary intake for the other elements (Cd, Hg, and Ni) was far below the limits established by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Water and beverages were the hmajor contributors to the overall Pb intake accounting for 25.3% and 31% of the total daily intake of Pb among women and men, respectively; followed by vegetables (18% and 15.8%), and meat and meat products (12.6% and 14.7%). Water and beverages were shown to be major contributors to the overall Pb intake in the present study, accounting for 25.3% and 31% of the total daily intake of Pb among women and men, respectively; followed by vegetables (18% and 15.8%), and meat and meat products (12.6% and 14.7%). Results of the present research show that Pb concentrations in the main food categories on the Polish market are at similar levels as in European data. Since food is the major source of human exposure to Pb and there is no recommended tolerable intake level, the Pb content in food products should be kept as low as possible.
The rersearchers highlighted that appropriate data on biochemical parameters and clinical symptoms of nephrotoxicity are needed to fully confirm the impact of Pb intake on the development of chronic kidney disease.
Recently, DFI has been made aware of a number of news related to the dietary intake of heavy metals during the identification of emerging risks. A German study found high levels of nickel in baby food from organic farming. In the USA, high levels of heavy metal (lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic) contamination have been detected in baby foods (various products such as infant formula, biscuits, cereals, juices for infants and young children). In addition, other products, such as spices, have also raised concerns about their heavy metal content.
All this suggests that further studies and risk assessments should be carried out to clarify the potential health risks from dietary intake of heavy metals, and based on the results of these studies, a review of the regulations and limits on the heavy metal content of foods and beverages may be recommended.