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Assessing dietary exposure to cadmium in a metal recycling community in Vietnam: Age and gender aspects

Minh, Ngo Duc, Hough, Rupert Lloyd, Thuy, Le Thi, Nyberg, Ylva, Mai, Le Bach, Vinh, Nguyen Cong, Khai, Nguyen Manh, Öborn, Ingrid
The Science of the total environment 2012 v.416 pp. 164-171
World Health Organization, adults, body weight, cadmium, dietary exposure, food frequency questionnaires, gender, recycling, rice, risk, spinach, staple foods, villages, Vietnam
This study estimates the dietary exposure to cadmium (Cd), and associated potential health risks, for individuals living and working in a metal recycling community (n=132) in Vietnam in comparison to an agricultural (reference) community (n=130). Individual-level exposure to Cd was estimated through analysis of staple foodstuffs combined with information from a food frequency questionnaire. Individual-level exposure estimates were compared with published ‘safe’ doses to derive a Hazard Quotient (HQ) for each member of the study population. Looking at the populations as a whole, there were no significant differences in the diets of the two villages. However, significantly more rice was consumed by working age adults (18–60years) in the recycling village compared to the reference village (p<0.001). Rice was the main staple food with individuals consuming 461±162g/d, followed by water spinach (103±51kg/d). Concentrations of Cd in the studied foodstuffs were elevated in the metal recycling village. Values of HQ exceeded unity for 87% of adult participants of the metal recycling community (39% had a HQ>3), while 20% of adult participants from the reference village had an HQ>1. We found an elevated health risk from dietary exposure to Cd in the metal recycling village compared to the reference community. WHO standard of 0.4mg Cd/kg rice may not be protective where people consume large amounts of rice/have relatively low body weight.