Determination of Levels of Lead and Cadmium Contamination in Meat Products Sold in Northern Lebanese Markets

Determination of Levels of Lead and Cadmium Contamination in Meat Products Sold in Northern Lebanese Markets

P.J. Obeid C.E. Saliba M. Younis S. Aouad J. El-Nakat 

Department of Chemistry, University of Balamand, Lebanon

31 December 2014
| Citation



The levels of lead and cadmium have been determined in canned and processed meat products sold in North Lebanon. Such products are normally available all year round in the markets. Never before have these meat products been assessed for their levels of toxic metals nor have they been given the deserved attention regarding their impact on human health. Using closed-vessel microwave acid-assisted digestion and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy, the levels of lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) were determined in 75 brands of canned and 33 brands of processed (cold cuts) meat sold in the  northern part of the country. The data provided extremely important information to whether or not Lebanese individuals are exposed to high levels of such toxic metals where specifi cally children were found to be more vulnerable to such exposures. In canned meat, the data showed that the levels of Pb ranged from 0.00020 to 0.8161 µg/g with a mean of 0.02696 µg/g, while 29 brands were below the detectable limit. As for Cd, the data revealed levels ranging from 0.00019 to 0.1382 µg/g with a mean of 0.01557 µg/g, while seven brands were below the detectable limit. In processed meat samples, Pb concentrations ranged from 0.00025 to 0.06135 µg/g with a mean of 0.0174 µg/g of which three brands showed nondetectable levels. Concentrations of cadmium ranged from 0.0000245 to 0.0071 µg/g where the mean concentration was found to be 0.002386 µg/g. Two major parameters, amount consumed and body weight, were found to play an important role in determining whether the provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake levels (PTWIs) of Pb and Cd were exceeded or not. Specifi cally for canned meats, certain samples have shown that the PTWI has been markedly exceeded in children for both metals.


cadmium, canned meat, GFAAS, heavy metals, lead, Lebanon, microwave digestion, processed meat


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