Many chemical elements that present in the human diet are essential for human life at low concentrations but can be toxic at high concentrations and chronic exposure. We aimed to assess the levels of some heavy metals in canned food that are sold in the Palestinian market and compare them with the recommended international limits.
A total of sixteen canned food samples were collected. The samples included four different manufactures for each of beans, chickpeas, corn and mushroom. After homogenization and samples treatment, the concentrations were determined using flame atomic absorption spectrometer IcE-3000 SERIES.
The concentrations were found to be in the range of 0.089–1.17 mg/L for Pb, 0.019–0.32 mg/L for Cd, 2.05–10.6 mg/L for Zn and 0.79–3.97 mg/L for Cu. Cadmium and copper results were higher than the maximum permissible limit (0.006 and 0.9 mg/L, respectively), whereas lead (except for only one sample: marina corn) and zinc levels were within the maximum permissible limits (1 and 11 mg/L, respectively).
The results necessitate continuous monitoring of Cd and Cu levels and controlling of canning process to obtain food safety. As an important environmental health concern, we recommend future human biomonitoring studies to correlate environmental exposure of these elements to biological markers.