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Health Risks Associated with Lead Exposure in Frequently Consumed Foods

This study determined the exposures and risks associated with the ingestion of lead in the diets of three age groups: 5-19; 20-39 and ≥ 40 living in Kumasi. Frequently consumed foods were sampled from the study area and their lead concentration quantified using the graphite furnace AAS method. The @Risk software was used to fit distributions for all elements of exposure. Subsequently, the chronic daily intake (CDI) was determined, and then used to estimate the risks in terms of the margin of exposure (MoE) and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILTCR). Across the three age groups, the modal CDI ranged between 0.007 and 0.06 μg/kg bw-day. Significantly low modal MoEs (0.009-0.05) were recorded for developmental neurotoxicity, nephrotoxicity and cardiovascular toxicity. De minimis (<10-6) modal lifetime cancer risks were recorded, however, the 95th percentile risks show that some consumers are still at risk (>10-6). These findings suggest serious public health concerns.


Edmund O. Benefo, Herman E. Lutterodt, Isaac W. Ofosu*, Gloria M. Ankar-Brewoo and Michelle Oppong Siaw

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