Submitted: 29 Apr 2014
Accepted: 03 Jun 2014
First published online: 25 Sep 2014
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Avicenna J Med Biochem. 2014;2(1): e19836.
doi: 10.17795/ajmb-19836
  Abstract View: 383
  PDF Download: 473
  Full Text View: 219

Research Article

Determination of Heavy Metal Levels in Edible Salt

Ali Heshmati 1 * , Aliasghar Vahidinia 1, Iraj Salehi 2

1 Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, IR Iran
2 Department of Physiology, Paramedical Faculty, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, IR Iran
Corresponding author: Ali Heshmati, Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, IR Iran. Tel: +98- 8118380572, Fax: +98-8118380208, Email:


Background: Edible salt is the most commonly used food additive worldwide. Therefore, any contamination of table salt could be a health hazard.

Objectives: The present study aimed to determine the levels of heavy metals in table and bakery refined salts.

Materials and Methods: Eighty-one table refined salt samples and the same number of bakery refined salt samples were purchased from retail market in the province of Hamadan, Iran. The levels of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), and iron (Fe) were determined using atomic absorption spectroscopy method.

Results: The levels (mean ± SD, μg/g) of Pb, Cd, Hg, Cu, Fe in table refined salt samples were 0.852 ± 0.277, 0.229 ± 0.012, 0.054 ± 0.040, 1.25 ± 0.245 and 0.689 ± 1.58, respectively. The results for the same metals in bakery refined salt samples were as follows (mean ± SD, μg/g): 22 ± 0.320 for Pb, 0.240 ± 0.018 for Cd, 0.058 ± 0.007 for Hg, 1.89 ± 0.218 for Cu, and 8.75 ± 2.10 for Fe. Heavy metal concentrations were generally higher in bakery refined salt.

Conclusions: The results obtained in the present study were compared with the literature and legal limits. All values for these metals in the table and bakery refined salts were lower than the permitted consumption level defined by Codex (2 μg/g of Pb, 0.5 μg/g of Cd, 0.1 μg/g of Hg, and 2 μg/g of Cu).

Implication for health policy/practice/research/medical education:

The levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, copper, and iron in edible salt consumed in Hamadan province were significantly lower than the permitted level prescribed by Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and Institute of Standards and Industrial research of Iran (ISIRI). Among heavy metals, lead (Pb) was at higher concentration in all analyzed samples whereas mercury (Hg) was at the lowest level. Although heavy metal level in edible salt was low, we advise to routinely check their level in edible salt

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