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Dietary heavy metal exposure of Finnish 1-year-olds

1 Risk Assessment Unit, Finnish Food Authority, Helsinki, Finland
2 Public Health Promotion Unit, National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, Helsinki, Finland
3 Faculty of Social Sciences/Health Sciences, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
4 Research Center for Child Health, Tampere University and University Hospital, and the Science Center of Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Tampere, Finland

Topical Sections: Future of food safety and nutrition

The exposure of Finnish 1-year-olds to cadmium, lead and inorganic arsenic via food and drinking water was determined. The food consumption data consisted of 3-day records from 1010 children aged 12 months, collected during 2002 to 2005 in Southwest Finland. One fifth of these children were still breastfed when the consumption data were collected and their exposure was assessed separately from the non-breastfed children. The heavy metal concentration data in foodstuffs were mainly analysis results from national authorities and they were mostly from the years 2005 to 2012. Dietary exposure assessment was performed probabilistically using the online program MCRA. With middle bound estimates, 89% of the non-breastfed and 56% of the breastfed children exceeded the tolerable weekly intake of cadmium. The benchmark dose (BMDL01) for neurological damage caused by lead was exceeded by 60% of the non-breastfed and by 50% of the breastfed children, while the lowest BMDL01 for cancer risk increase caused by inorganic arsenic was exceeded by 77% of the non-breastfed and by 61% of the breastfed children. The assessment did not include the unknown heavy metal exposure from breast milk. Heavy metal exposure differences between the boys and the girls were also assessed. Breastfed girls had significantly higher heavy metal exposure relative to their bodyweight than the breastfed boys, while in the non-breastfed group there were no differences by sex.
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