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Geographical variations of cadmium and arsenic concentrations and arsenic speciation in Chinese rice

Chen, Hongping, Tang, Zhu, Wang, Peng, Zhao, Fang-Jie
Environmental pollution 2018 v.238 pp. 482-490
Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization, acceptable daily intake, arsenic, body weight, cacodylic acid, cadmium, detection limit, exposure pathways, food safety, industrialization, markets, rice, risk, soil pollution, toxic substances, China
Rapid industrialization in China in recent decades has resulted in soil contamination in some areas, raising the concern about food safety. Consumption of rice represents a major exposure route for the toxic elements cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As). We collected 160 polished rice from local markets in 20 provinces in China and determined total Cd and As concentrations and As speciation. Total Cd concentration ranged from below the detection limit to 0.77 mg kg−1, with 10% of the samples exceeding the Chinese limit (0.2 mg kg−1). Rice Cd concentration showed a distinct geographical pattern, increasing from low levels in the north to high levels in the south of China. Median daily Cd intake from rice varied from 0.01 μg kg−1 body weight in the north to 0.61 μg kg−1 body weight in the south of China, representing between 1% and 73% of the tolerable daily intake (TDI) recommended by FAO/WHO. The highest median Cd intake from rice was in Hunan province with 2 times TDI. Total As concentration ranged from 0.011 to 0.186 mg kg−1, with inorganic As (iAs) and dimethylarsinic acid (DMAs) on average accounting for 69% and 31%, respectively. All samples were below the Chinese limit for iAs in rice (0.2 mg kg−1). There was no clear geographical pattern in rice total As concentration, but rice produced in northeastern China contained higher percentages of DMAs and lower percentages of iAs. This study highlights a high risk of Cd exposure from rice consumption for the population of southern China and suggested strategies for reducing Cd accumulation in rice crop.