Bromine, arsenic, cadmium, and lead in several key food groups: an assessment of relative risk

Marta Ventura, Carlos Cardoso, Narcisa Maria Bandarra, Inês Delgado, Inês Coelho, Sandra Gueifão, Mariana Ribeiro, Maria Helena Costa, Isabel Castanheira

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This study endeavoured to provide an overview of the bromine, Br, arsenic (As, a metalloid) and metal (cadmium, Cd, and lead, Pb) relative risk associated with the consumption of relevant food groups (lean fish, fatty fish, bivalves, cephalopods, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and green vegetables) in Portugal. Though As, Cd, and Pb have been frequently studied, a comprehensive overview applying the same state-of-the-art methodology to a wide array of foods is missing. Besides, there is a large deficit of content information and risk assessment studies on Br. Thus, it is important to apply a mathematically realistic and innovative methodology (extreme value theory) to recent and accurate databases for the aforementioned food groups and elements. Best fits to Br, As (total), Cd, and Pb concentrations were attained through different functions, ranging from the normal distribution to the Weibull distribution. A semi-probabilistic risk assessment approach on the basis of four alternative scenarios (one monthly meal; one weekly meal; three weekly meals; one daily meal) showed low relative risk regarding Br and Pb in the selected food groups, including bivalves, which contained the highest Br and Pb contents. With respect to total As, high relative risk values were calculated for seafood, but it should be emphasized that this As is overwhelmingly organic, thus presenting low risk. For Cd, substantial relative risk associated with bivalves’ and cephalopods’ consumption, particularly with one or more weekly meal(s), was found. However, the current study enables us to compare between the relative risk of the studied food groups and scenarios, and other studies encompassing the whole diet and following long-term dietary patterns are needed for the assessment of absolute risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1398-1412
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal Of Environmental Analytical Chemistry
Issue number15(SI)
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2018
Event40th International Conference on Environmental and Food Monitoring - Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Duration: 19 Jun 201822 Jun 2018


  • arsenic
  • bromine
  • fruit and vegetables
  • metallic elements
  • Relative risk assessment
  • seafood


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