Main content area

Children’s exposures to lead and cadmium: FDA total diet study 2014-16

Spungen, Judith H
Food additives & contaminants 2019 v.36 no.6 pp. 893-903
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Total Diet Study, adverse effects, brain, cadmium, children, detection limit, dietary exposure, food consumption, fruits, grains, hamburgers, lead, normal values, pizza, soups, vegetables
Children are at potential risk for adverse effects from lead and cadmium exposures due to the effects of these elements on developing brains. Children’s dietary exposures to lead and cadmium were estimated based on lead and cadmium concentration data from FDA’s Total Diet Study (TDS) and on food consumption data from What We Eat In America (WWEIA), the food survey portion of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES). Estimated mean exposures vary based on age range (1–3 y, 4–6 y, or 1–6 y) and on substitution scenarios for values below the limit of detection (non-detects = 0; non-detects = limit of detection; hybrid approach). Estimated mean lead exposures range from 1 to 3.4 µg/day, with major contributions from grains, fruit, dairy, and mixtures (e.g. hamburgers, pizza, lasagna, soups). Estimated mean cadmium exposures range from 0.38 to 0.44 µg/kg bw/day, with major contributions from grains, mixtures, and vegetables. Estimated children’s lead exposures declined slightly since 2004–08, but cadmium exposures did not decline. No safe level has been identified for lead exposures, and toxicologic reference values for cadmium range from 0.1 to 0.83 µg/kg bw/day. The data on lead and cadmium exposures, and on contributors to exposures, will inform research and regulatory priorities on mitigation of exposures to lead and cadmium.