Lead and cadmium levels in raw bovine milk and dietary risk assessment in areas near petroleum extraction industries
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Science of The Total Environment, 2018, vol. 635
Oil fields are a source of heavy metal pollution, but few studies have evaluated its impact on the intake of these contaminants through milk, an important food especially for children. From February 2015 to 2016, 118 samples of raw cow's milk, 14 of fodder and 8 of water in Southwest Iran were collected from farms close to oil fields or related industries. Lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) levels were evaluated by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Mean ± SE in milk and fodder were 47.0 ± 3.9 and 54.0 ± 6.9 μg/kg for Pb, and 4.7 ± 1.0 and 3.5 ± 1.3 μg/kg for Cd. No Pb or Cd was detected in water. Most milk samples (82.2%) for Pb were above the permissible limits (20 μg/kg). Exposure to Pb and Cd from milk consumption was calculated in two scenarios: mean and maximum exposure for the age range of 2–90 years. The intake of an average Iranian adult (25 years, 60 kg b. w., 0.14 kg milk/day) would be 6.6 μg Pb and 0.66 μg Cd/day (WI of 46.2 and 4.6 μg, respectively), well below the risk values proposed by some international organizations, even in the maximum exposure scenario. However, Pb exposure for infants and toddlers may be closer to the risk values, since milk and milk products could be the main contributor to Cd and Pb, and small children consume 2–3 times more food than adults relative to their body weight. The risk of Pb and Cd exposure through milk close to oil fields should be considered and a monitoring plan for these contaminants is strongly recommended.
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