Heavy metal content in edible salts in Isfahan and estimation of their daily intake via salt consumption

Document Type : Original Article


1 Student Research Center, School of Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS), Isfahan, Iran

2 Environment Research Center, IUMS, Isfahan, Iran


Aims: In this study, the heavy metal contamination of consumable table salt, both unrefined and refined, was investigated. The provisional tolerable weekly intake (PTWI) of heavy metals just by edible salt, of the Isfahan population, was also estimated. Materials and Methods: Twenty samples of salt, including 15 refined and five unrefined were analyzed. Precision of the analysis was assured through repeated analysis of the five samples, which had a great demand in the city. The heavy metal content in the samples was analyzed with Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP). The PTWI of the metals was calculated by a formula and by using the Iranian average body weight. Results: The mean and standard deviations of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), arsenic (As), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn), in refined table salts were 0.15 ± 0.02, 0.57 ± 0.1, 0.69 ± 0.09, 0.061 ± 0.008, 0.87 ± 0.11, and 6.34 ± 1.08 μg/g, and those in the unrefined ones were 0.16 ± 0.02, 0.61 ± 0.13, 0.63 ± 0.07, 0.058 ± 0.004, 0.86 ± 0.06, and 7.53 ± 2.93 μg/g, respectively. A PTWI via salt consumption was in the range of 0.8 - 3.1 percent. Conclusions: There was a significant difference between the heavy metal concentrations and their guideline values. Estimation of the health risk due to heavy metals was not possible as PTWI showed total intake of a metal by total food consumption during a week. Therefore, it was important to assess the public health risks arising from the presence of these toxic contaminants in the foods consumed by the population of Iran.


Volume 1, March
March 2012
Pages 41-45
  • Receive Date: 06 February 2023
  • Accept Date: 06 February 2023