Nutr Res Pract.  2012 Oct;6(5):436-443.

Measures for a closer-to-real estimate of dietary exposure to total mercury and lead in total diet study for Koreans

  • 1Department of Health Industry & Policy, Korea Health Industry Development Institute, 187 Osongsaengmyeong 2(i)-ro, Osong-eup, Chungbuk 363-700, Korea.
  • 2Food Contaminants Division, Food Safety Evaluation Department, National Institute of Food & Drug Safety Evaluation, Chungbuk 363-700, Korea.


Previous Korean total diet studies (KTDSs) have estimated dietary exposure to toxic chemicals based on 110-120 representative foods selected from over 500 foods appeared in the Korea National Health & Nutrition Examination Surveys (KNHANES), which would result in a possible underestimation. In order to find measures for a closer-to-real estimate of dietary exposure to heavy metals, this study examined the feasibility of mapping foods to the representative foods in the KTDS by comparing estimates. In mapping, those foods not analyzed in the 2009 KTDS (443 out of 559 foods appeared in the 2007 KNHANES) were mapped to the 114 representative foods used in the 2009 KTDS based on the closeness in regards to biological systematics and morphological similarity. Dietary exposures to total mercury and lead were re-estimated using the content of total mercury and lead in 114 foods analyzed in the 2009 KTDS, food intake, and individual's own body weight for respondents in the 2007 KNHANES instead of mean body weight of Koreans used in the 2009 KTDS. The re-estimates of exposure with mapping were approximately 50% higher than the original estimates reported in the 2009 KTDS. In addition, mapping enabled the comparison of percentile distribution of the exposure among populations of different age groups. In conclusion, estimates via mapping resulted in a more comprehensive estimation of dietary exposure to heavy metals present in foods that Koreans consume.


Dietary exposure; total mercury; lead; mapping; Korean total diet study (KTDS)
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