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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 specifically 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. Specifically for canned meats, certain samples have shown that the PTWI has been markedly exceeded in children for both metals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Safety and Security Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Cadmium
  • canned meat
  • heavy metals
  • lead
  • Lebanon
  • microwave digestion
  • processed meat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • General Environmental Science


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