Lead content in cereal products as a population health threat marker: a case study in the province of Podlasie

Wydanie: 3 / 2013


  • Fiłon J., Ustymowicz-Farbiszewska J., Karczewski J.

Kategorie: Food science , Medicine and veterinary

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2013.18.3.04


Heavy metals, which are considered basic industrial and environmental pollutants, pose a threat to the human health if found in food products even in trace amounts. Lead may cause such conditions as functional disorders of the kidneys, liver or the circulatory system. It can also impede the biosynthesis of heme and cause disturbances in the metabolism of vitamin D and the following microelements: Fe, Cu, Zn Se and Ca.

The aim of the study was to assess the health threat and estimate risks from the presence of Pb in cereal products available in retail shops in the Province of Podlasie. The material consisted of samples of cereal products (flour, groats, bakery products, pasta and rice) taken at random from retail shops in Podlasie in 2004-2005 and 2010-2011. The lead concentration was estimated by using the atomic absorption spectrometry method (AAS). The content of Pb was analyzed depending on a product type and sampling period; the health threat was assessed with reference to the current Polish requirements. The results were statistically analyzed using Statistica 7.1 software, Duncan’s test and Wilcoxon test. 
The results revealed that the average content of Pb in the examined cereal products did not exceed the norms. During the analyzed period, a decrease in the Pb concentration in cereals was found. This may indicate an improvement in the quality of the environment, which can be measured by the content of Pb in cereal products. At the same time, owing to the significant role of cereal products in human nutrition, the lead content may also serve as a marker of health exposure.


Fiłon J., Ustymowicz-Farbiszewska J., Karczewski J. 2013. Lead content in cereal products as a population health threat marker: a case study in the province of Podlasie. J. Elem. 18(3): 391-401, DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2013.18.3.04

Słowa kluczowe:

lead, cereal products, atomic absorption spectrometry, health threat

O wydaniu:


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