The combined exposure to cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury through food and drinking water is too high. This is evident from research by the RIVM in 10 European countries, including the Netherlands. Consuming too much of these heavy metals probably increases the risk of chronic kidney damage.
Especially too much cadmium and lead
The RIVM investigated how much cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury adults (18-65 years) consume in Austria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and the Netherlands. The sum of exposure to these 4 metals is too high in all countries examined. Of these metals, cadmium and lead in particular contribute to possible kidney damage. Cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury, among other things, are found in the soil and therefore end up in food. People mainly consume too much cadmium and lead through grains and organ meats.
Avoidance is not always better
The RIVM states that even if people ingest too much of certain harmful substances, it is not better to avoid some foods. These foods also contain many healthy substances, such as healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. To (continue to) eat and drink healthily, the RIVM recommends following the guidelines of the Nutrition Center.
The RIVM collaborated with 9 European sister institutes and universities for the research. The researchers wrote a scientific article about it, which was published in the scientific journal Food Additives & Contaminants. The research is a first exploratory study into the risks of combined exposure to the 4 metals. Additional research will follow into the amount of these metals in blood and urine. The RIVM previously did this research into the cumulative exposure to substances, including metals, on brain development. Even then, the conclusion was that exposure to these substance groups may be too high.