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Assessment of mercury and cadmium via seafood consumption in Italy: estimated dietary intake (EWI) and target hazard quotient (THQ)

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Mercury (Hg) and cadmium (Cd) were quantified in fish, cephalopods and crustaceans from Italian supermarkets. Sample compliance with European dietary standards as well as human health risks according to provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) and the methodology of target hazard quotient (THQ) were evaluated. Both element levels were under European legal limits, except for some fish having Hg and Cd contents exceeding or equal to critical values. Estimated weekly intakes (Hg: fish = 0.07–1.44 µg kg−1 bw week–1; cephalopods = 0.05–0.15 µg kg−1 bw week–1; crustaceans = 0.04–0.08 µg kg−1 bw week–1; and Cd: fish = 0.04–0.32 µg kg−1 bw week–1; cephalopods = 0.07–0.27 µg kg−1 bw week–1; crustaceans = 0.05–0.11 µg kg−1 bw week–1) as well as THQ < 1 were within safe limits. Although there seems to be no important risks associated with seafood consumption, Hg exposure was in some cases close to safety margins and thus levels of this metal should be under frequent surveillance.
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Keywords: PTWI; THQ; cadmium; dietary intake; mercury; seafood

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutical Department, University of Bari, Valenzano, Italy

Publication date: August 3, 2015

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