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Mean Total Arsenic Concentrations in Chicken 1989-2000 and Estimated Exposures for Consumers of Chicken

The purpose of this study was to estimate mean concentrations of total arsenic in chicken liver tissue and then estimate total and inorganic arsenic ingested by humans through chicken consumption. We used national monitoring data from the Food Safety and Inspection Service National Residue Program to estimate mean arsenic concentrations for 1994-2000.

 Incorporating assumptions about the concentrations of arsenic in liver and muscle tissues as well as the proportions of inorganic and organic arsenic, we then applied the estimates to national chicken consumption data to calculate inorganic, organic, and total arsenic ingested by eating chicken. The mean concentration of total arsenic in young chickens was 0.39 ppm, 3- to 4-fold higher than in other poultry and meat.

 At mean levels of chicken consumption (60 g/person/day) , people may ingest 1.38-5.24 µg/day of inorganic arsenic from chicken alone. At the 99th percentile of chicken consumption (350 g chicken/day) , people may ingest 21.13-30.59 µg inorganic arsenic/day and 32.50-47.07 µg total arsenic/day from chicken.

These concentrations are higher than previously recognized in chicken, which may necessitate adjustments to estimates of arsenic ingested through diet and may need to be considered when estimating overall exposure to arsenic.

Published on 03-17-2008