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Analysis of lead in 55 brands of dietary calcium supplements by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry after microwave digestion

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The lead (Pb) contents of calcium (Ca) supplements available in Korea were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry using Zeeman background correction and peak area mode. All samples were microwave-digested in concentrated HNO3. Ammonium dihydrogen phosphate and magnesium nitrate were used as matrix modifiers. Fifty-five brands of Ca supplements were classified into seven categories based on the major composite: bone, milk, oyster/clam shell, egg shell, algae, shark cartilage and chelated. The mean Pb contents of Ca supplements were 1.1  g g−1 (coefficient of variation 5.7%), ranging from n.d. (not detected) to 6.7  g g−1. Ca supplements made of bone have the highest Pb contents (2.3  g g−1) with a wide range (0.1-6.7  g g−1). The results were similar to those reported in other countries. The mean daily intakes of Pb from the supplement could be about 5  g (mean Pb concentration 1.1  g g−1 × mean daily intake 4.5 g) taking 2% of provisional tolerable daily intake that the FAO/WHO Joint Food Additive and Contaminants Committee has set to evaluate its safety. However, measures to prevent potentials of Pb toxicity from overtaking some Ca supplements should be considered.
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Keywords: calcium (Ca) supplements; graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry; lead (Pb); microwave digestion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Evaluation, Korea Food and Drug Administration, 5 Nokbun-dong Seoul, 122-704, Korea

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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