Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Heavy metal ions in wines: meta-analysis of target hazard quotients reveal health risks

Declan P Naughton* and Andrea Petróczi

Author Affiliations

School of Life Sciences, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston, London, KT1 2EE, UK

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Chemistry Central Journal 2008, 2:22  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-2-22

Published: 30 October 2008

Abstract

Background

Metal ions such as iron and copper are among the key nutrients that must be provided by dietary sources. Numerous foodstuffs have been evaluated for their contributions to the recommended daily allowance both to guide for satisfactory intake and also to prevent over exposure. In the case of heavy metal ions, the focus is often on exposure to potentially toxic levels of ions such as lead and mercury. The aim of this study is to determine target hazard quotients (THQ) from literature reports giving empirical levels of metal ions in table wines using the reference upper safe limit value. Contributions to the THQ value were calculated for seven metal ions along with total values for each wine.

Results

The THQ values were determined as ranges from previously reported ranges of metal ion concentrations and were frequently concerningly high. Apart from the wines selected from Italy, Brazil and Argentina, all other wines exhibited THQ values significantly greater than one indicating levels of risk. The levels of vanadium, copper and manganese had the highest impact on THQ measures. Typical potential maximum THQ values ranged from 50 to 200 with Hungarian and Slovakian wines reaching 300. THQ values for a sample of red and white wines were high for both having values ranging from 30 to 80 for females based on a 250 mL glass per day.

Conclusion

The THQ values calculated are concerning in that they are mainly above the safe level of THQ<1. It is notable that in the absence of upper safe limits, THQ values cannot be calculated for most metal ions, suggesting that further unaccountable risks are associated with intake of these wines.

Graphical abstract