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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in foods and estimated PAH intake by the population of Catalonia, Spain: Temporal trend

Environment International
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2010.03.003
  • Foodstuffs
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (Pah)
  • Dietary Intake
  • Human Health Risks
  • Catalonia (Spain)


Abstract The concentrations of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were determined in various foodstuffs randomly purchased in Catalonia (Spain) during November and December of 2008. Dietary intake of PAH was subsequently estimated according to age and sex for the general population of Catalonia. The current results were compared with those of previous studies performed in 2000 and 2006. The highest PAH levels corresponded to phenanthrene (18.18 µg/kg), naphthalene (13.31 µg/kg), and pyrene (8.46 µg/kg), whereas the lowest concentrations were those of dibenzo[ a,h]anthracene (0.89 µg/kg), indeno[1,2,3- c,d]pyrene (0.94 µg/kg), and benzo[ k]fluoranthene (1.00 µg/kg). With respect to the contribution of total carcinogenic PAH, benzo[ a]pyrene contributed 47.77% or 48.22%, depending on the TEF value used. By food groups, the current highest levels of total PAH were detected in meat and meat products (38.99 µg/kg), followed by oils and fats (18.75 µg/kg), and dairy products (7.57 µg/kg). The highest contribution to PAH dietary intake corresponded to the group of meat and meat products (4.75 µg/day). The estimated mean dietary intake for a standard male adult (70-kg body weight) was 6.72 µg/day, a lower value than those found in our 2000 (8.42 µg/day), and 2006 surveys (12.04 µg/day). With regard to the results of other recent studies, the current PAH concentrations were comparatively lower.

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