Informe del Comité Científico de la Agencia Española de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición (AESAN) en relación a la evaluación del riesgo de la exposición de la población española a cadmio a través de la dieta

  1. María Aránzazu Martínez Caballero
  2. Pilar Conchello Moreno
  3. Carmen Rubio Armendáriz
  4. Pau Talens Oliag
Revista del Comité Científico de la AESAN

ISSN: 1885-6586

Year of publication: 2021

Issue: 33

Pages: 75-111

Type: Article

Export: RIS


In 2011, the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) performed a risk assessment of the Spanish population’s exposure to cadmium. Since then, there have been updates that include the adoption of new maximum limits of cadmium content in food products and two surveys on eating habits by AESAN: ENALIA (National Survey of the Eating Habits of Children and Adolescents) and ENALIA-2 (National Survey of the Eating Habits of Adults, the Elderly, and Pregnant Women). The Scientific Committee has performed a new risk assessment of the Spanish population’s exposure to cadmium through diet, taking into consideration about 3000 new data points on the presence of cadmium in different categories of food, compiled between 2014 and 2017 in Spain. The estimate of the dietary intake of cadmium was performed by means of a deterministic model of calculation based on the average contamination value for the lower bound (LB) and the upper bound (UB) of the daily consumption of each food product among different age groups (12-35 months, 3-9 years, 10-17 years, and 18-64 years), and the assumed body weight for each of them. Considering the contamination scenarios LB and UB, in both cases it has been found that soluble cocoa powder (215.3-215.3 µg Cd/kg), molluscs (172.8-178.5 µg Cd/kg) and chocolate and chocolatebased products (114.0-116.7 µg Cd/kg) are the food groups that display the highest average concentration of cadmium. The main contributor to cadmium intake in adults are molluscs. Although there were fewer samples for analysis, soluble cocoa powder was found to be the main contributor to cadmium intake in age groups 3-17 years, whereas the potato contributes the highest amount of cadmium to the diet of children aged 12-35 months. Children between the ages of 12 to 35 months are especially vulnerable to cadmium exposure, as they consume a greater amount of food in relation to their body weight. Nevertheless, as it is reasonable to assume that real dietary exposure to cadmium would be closer to the estimate derived from the use of the LB rather than the UB of contamination, it may be concluded that cadmium exposure is within the safety margins for all population groups in Spain. Lower dietary exposure to cadmium has been observed in Spanish adults from 2010 onwards, of 26 % and 42 % in the lower bound and upper bound estimates, respectively, although differences in the quantification limits and in the food consumption data of the studies may influence these results. For all population groups, the extreme consumption of molluscs is the main dietary source of cadmium. Although unlikely, any scenario of chronic exposure which includes the extreme consumption of any food group constitutes a risk of cadmium exposure over and above the established tolerable weekly intake (TWI).