The Hazards of a Ubiquitary Metalloid, Arsenic, Hiding in Infant Diets: Detection, Speciation, Exposure, and Risk Assessment

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Jallad, Karim
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Different types of infant foods categorized as formulas, cereals, and purees imported from seven different countries and available on the Kuwaiti retail market were collected for arsenic analysis. The samples were analyzed both for total arsenic concentration using ICP-MS and for arsenic speciation using HPLC-ICP-MS. Speciation is essential for food analysis because of the toxicity and carcinogenicity of inorganic arsenic species. There was a strong positive linear correlation between the total and inorganic arsenic levels in the tested infant foods at the 95% confidence level. Arsenic concentrations detected in this study were implemented to calculate the total daily intake of arsenic, where the calculated daily intake values were utilized to assess the potential health risks to infants incurred by consuming different infant foods by calculating three different assessment indices namely, hazard quotient (HQ), cancer risk (CR), and margin of exposure (MOE). Both the total arsenic content and the safety of the investigated infant foods were compared to the ones associated with 406 different infant food types from seven different countries reported in the literature. This study confirms that infants are exposed to arsenic via diet since rice-based infant food products contained elevated levels of arsenic; consequently, warranting careful attention to diet choices both to limit this exposure and to avert potentially hazardous adverse health effects to the infants.
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