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An exposure–risk assessment for potentially toxic elements in rice and bulgur
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Rice and wheat are rich sources of essential elements. However, they may also accumulate potentially toxic elements (PTE). Bulgur, the popular alternative to rice in the eastern Mediterranean, is produced by processing wheat, during which PTE content may change. This study determined PTE concentrations in rice and bulgur collected from 50 participant households in the City of Izmir, Turkey, estimated ingestion exposure, and associated chronic-toxic and carcinogenic human health risks. Comparison of the determined concentrations to the available standard levels and the levels reported in the literature revealed that Cd, Co, and Pb in rice might be of concern. The estimated health risks of individual participants supported this result with exceedance of respective threshold or acceptable risk levels at the 95th percentile. Population risk estimates indicated that the proportion with higher than the threshold or acceptable risk is about 10%, 24%, and 12% for Cd, Co, and Pb in rice, respectively. Results of this study showed that health risks associated with PTE exposure through bulgur consumption are lower than those of rice, and below the threshold or acceptable risk levels.