CODA-CERVA is the Belgian National Reference laboratory (NRL) for the determination of trace elements in food and animal feed.
Speciation is of critical importance for arsenic compounds because the various species differ largely with respect to their toxicity. The toxicity of As species commonly found in food is generally reported to be in de order: arsenite (AsIII), arsenate (ASV), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA), monomethylarsinic acid (MMA), arsenobetaine (AsB).
During the past decades a lot of progress has been made in understanding the speciation and toxicity of As in food. While seafood contributes to a large extent to the total human As exposure (due to its high total As content), this As is almost exclusively present as arsenobetaine, a species which is not toxic.
Grains (e.g. rice or wheat) and vegetable crops on the contrary, have much lower total As concentrations, but a considerable fraction of this As is inorganic, which has a much higher toxicity.
Because of these differences, setting regulations for As-intake (maximum acceptable concentrations, tolerable intakes) based on total As concentrations is of little use.
Recent progress in lowering the quantification limits and accuracy of speciation methods may help to contribute to the possibility to take speciation aspects into account in future regulations.
NORMS AND LEGISLATION :
Maximum arsenic content in ambient air
Directive 2004/107/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 relating to arsenic, cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), nickel and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in ambient air.
Target value for arsenic in ambient air: 6 ng/m3.
Maximum arsenic content in products intended for animal feed
DIRECTIVE 2002/32/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 7 May 2002 on undesirable substances in animal feed.
|Products intended for animal feed || |
Maximum arsenic content in mg/kg (ppm) relative to a feedingstuff with a moisture content of 12 %
|Feed materials with the exception of: ||2 |
|- meal made from grass, from dried lucerne and from dried clover, and dried sugar beet pulp and dried molasses sugar beet pulp ||4 |
|- phosphates and feedingstuffs obtained from the processing of fish or other marine animals ||10 |
|Complete feedingstuffs with the exception of: ||2 |
|- complete feedingstuffs for fish ||4 |
|Complementary feedingstuffs with the exception |
|-mineral feedingstuffs ||12 |
Restrictions on the marketing and use of arsenic
COUNCIL DIRECTIVE of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations (76/769/EEC)
Maximum arsenic content in water intended for human consumption
COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption.
The maximum arsenic content in water intended for human consumption is fixed at 10µg/L.
Tolerable human intake levels
Arsenic was last evaluated by JECFA at its thirty-third meeting in 1988 and a PTWI of 0.015 mg/kg body weight (bw)
was established. A large amount of scientific data has become available since then, including epidemiological studies, which warrants a re-evaluation and review of the PTWI (will be discussed in Rome, February 2010).http://www.who.int/ipcs/food/jecfa/jecfa