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Urinary Excretion of the β-Adrenergic Feed Additives Ractopamine and Zilpaterol in Breast and Lung Cancer Patients

Cheng Ting-Yuan David, Shelver Weilin L., Hong Chi-Chen, McCann Susan E., Davis Warren, Zhang Yali, Ambrosone Christine B., Smith David J.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2016 v.64 no.40 pp. 7632-7639
Food and Drug Administration, United States, zilpaterol hydrochloride, urine, red meat, ractopamine, poultry, patients, muscles, meat consumption, lung neoplasms, humans, food frequency questionnaires, food animals, feed additives, excretion, breast neoplasms, agonists, drug residues, liquid chromatography, processed meat, tandem mass spectrometry, toxicity, urinalysis
β₂-Adrenergic agonists (β-agonists) have been legally used in the U.S. for almost two decades to increase lean muscle mass in meat animals. Despite a cardiotoxic effect after high-dose exposure, there has been limited research on human β-agonist exposures related to meat consumption. We quantified urinary concentrations of ractopamine and zilpaterol, two FDA-approved β-agonist feed additives, and examined the extent to which the concentrations were associated with estimated usual meat intake levels. Overnight urine samples from 324 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and spot urine samples from 46 lung cancer patients at the time of diagnosis, prior to treatment, were collected during 2006–2010 and 2014–2015, respectively. Urinary ractopamine and zilpaterol concentrations were measured by LC-MS/MS. Ractopamine and zilpaterol, respectively, were detected in 8.1% and 3.0% of the urine samples collected (n = 370). Only 1.1% (n = 4) of the urine samples had zilpaterol concentrations above the limit of quantification, with the mean value of 0.07 ng/mL in urine. The presence of detectable ractopamine and zilpaterol levels were not associated with meat consumption estimated from a food frequency questionnaire, including total meat (P = 0.13 and 0.74, respectively), total red meat (P = 0.72 and 0.74), unprocessed red meat (P = 0.74 and 0.73), processed red meat (P = 0.72 and 0.15), and poultry intake (P = 0.67 for ractopamine). Our data suggest that the amount of meat-related exposure of β-agonists was low.