Cancer and non-cancer health effects from food contaminant exposures for children and adults in California: A risk assessment

Rainbow Vogt, Deborah H Bennett, Diana L Cassady, Joshua Frost, Beate Ritz, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: In the absence of current cumulative dietary exposure assessments, this analysis was conducted to estimate exposure to multiple dietary contaminants for children, who are more vulnerable to toxic exposure than adults. Methods. We estimated exposure to multiple food contaminants based on dietary data from preschool-age children (2-4 years, n=207), school-age children (5-7 years, n=157), parents of young children (n=446), and older adults (n=149). We compared exposure estimates for eleven toxic compounds (acrylamide, arsenic, lead, mercury, chlorpyrifos, permethrin, endosulfan, dieldrin, chlordane, DDE, and dioxin) based on self-reported food frequency data by age group. To determine if cancer and non-cancer benchmark levels were exceeded, chemical levels in food were derived from publicly available databases including the Total Diet Study. Results: Cancer benchmark levels were exceeded by all children (100%) for arsenic, dieldrin, DDE, and dioxins. Non-cancer benchmarks were exceeded by >95% of preschool-age children for acrylamide and by 10% of preschool-age children for mercury. Preschool-age children had significantly higher estimated intakes of 6 of 11 compounds compared to school-age children (p<0.0001 to p=0.02). Based on self-reported dietary data, the greatest exposure to pesticides from foods included in this analysis were tomatoes, peaches, apples, peppers, grapes, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, spinach, dairy, pears, green beans, and celery. Conclusions: Dietary strategies to reduce exposure to toxic compounds for which cancer and non-cancer benchmarks are exceeded by children vary by compound. These strategies include consuming organically produced dairy and selected fruits and vegetables to reduce pesticide intake, consuming less animal foods (meat, dairy, and fish) to reduce intake of persistent organic pollutants and metals, and consuming lower quantities of chips, cereal, crackers, and other processed carbohydrate foods to reduce acrylamide intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number83
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • Cancer risk
  • Chemical contaminants in food
  • Dietary toxic exposure prevention
  • Nutritional toxicology
  • Organic food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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