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Open AccessArticle

Assessing the Risk of Hg Exposure Associated with Rice Consumption in a Typical City (Suzhou) in Eastern China

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
CQC Intime Testing Technology Co. Ltd., Suzhou 210023, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 525;
Received: 10 April 2017 / Revised: 8 May 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Pollution and Human Health Risk)
Recent studies have revealed that not only fish but also rice consumption may significantly contribute to human exposure to mercury (Hg) in Asian countries. It is therefore essential to assess dietary exposure to Hg in rice and its associated health risk. However, risk assessments of Hg in rice in non-contaminated areas are generally lacking in Asian countries. In the present study, Hg concentrations were measured in rice samples collected from markets and supermarkets in Suzhou, a typical city in Eastern China. In addition, the rice ingestion rates (IR) were assessed via a questionnaire-based survey of Suzhou residents. The data were then used to assess the risk of Hg exposure associated with rice consumption, by calculating the hazard quotient (HQ). Hg contents in rice samples were well below the national standard (20 μg/kg), ranging from 1.46 to 8.48 ng/g. They were also significantly (p > 0.05) independent of the area of production and place of purchase (markets vs. supermarkets in the different districts). Our results indicate a low risk of Hg exposure from rice in Suzhou (HQ: 0.005–0.05), despite the generally high personal IR (0.05–0.4 kg/day). The risk of Hg associated with rice consumption for Suzhou residents was not significantly affected by the age or sex of the consumer (p > 0.05). Overall, our results provide a study of human exposure to Hg in rice in Chinese cities not known to be contaminated with Hg. Future studies should examine Hg exposure in different areas in China and in potentially vulnerable major food types. View Full-Text
Keywords: mercury; rice; food safety; dietary exposure mercury; rice; food safety; dietary exposure
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Wang, G.; Gong, Y.; Zhu, Y.-X.; Miao, A.-J.; Yang, L.-Y.; Zhong, H. Assessing the Risk of Hg Exposure Associated with Rice Consumption in a Typical City (Suzhou) in Eastern China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 525.

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