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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(1), 349-360; doi:10.3390/ijerph6010349

Ethyl Carbamate in Alcoholic Beverages from Mexico (Tequila, Mezcal, Bacanora, Sotol) and Guatemala (Cuxa): Market Survey and Risk Assessment

1
Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weissenburger Strasse 3, 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
2
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 33 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1, Canada
3
Unidad de Biotecnología e Ingeniería Genética de Plantas, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del IPN, 36500 Irapuato, Gto., Mexico
4
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 55 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T3M7, Canada
5
Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, TU Dresden, Chemnitzer Strasse 46, 01187 Dresden, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 December 2008 / Accepted: 16 January 2009 / Published: 20 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Research on Alcohol: Public Health Perspectives)
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Abstract

Ethyl carbamate (EC) is a recognized genotoxic carcinogen, with widespread occurrence in fermented foods and beverages. No data on its occurrence in alcoholic beverages from Mexico or Central America is available. Samples of agave spirits including tequila, mezcal, bacanora and sotol (n=110), and of the sugarcane spirit cuxa (n=16) were purchased in Mexico and Guatemala, respectively, and analyzed for EC. The incidence of EC contamination was higher in Mexico than in Guatemala, however, concentrations were below international guideline levels (<0.15 mg/L). Risk assessment found the Margin of Exposure (MOE) in line with that of European spirits. It is therefore unlikely that EC plays a role in high rates of liver cirrhosis reported in Mexico. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ethyl carbamate; urethane; alcoholic beverages; risk assessment; Mexico; Guatemala; carcinogens; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry; food contamination; food analysis; sugarcane; agave; tequila; mezcal; cuxa; unrecorded alcohol Ethyl carbamate; urethane; alcoholic beverages; risk assessment; Mexico; Guatemala; carcinogens; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry; food contamination; food analysis; sugarcane; agave; tequila; mezcal; cuxa; unrecorded alcohol
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lachenmeier, D.W.; Kanteres, F.; Kuballa, T.; López, M.G.; Rehm, J. Ethyl Carbamate in Alcoholic Beverages from Mexico (Tequila, Mezcal, Bacanora, Sotol) and Guatemala (Cuxa): Market Survey and Risk Assessment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6, 349-360.

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