Mal J Nutr 20(1): 121 - 131, 2014

Heavy Metal Hazards of Functional Beverages in Nigeria
Orisakwe 0E1* & Ajaezi GC2

ABSTRACT

Introduction: In spite of an explosion in brewing and importation of energy drinks in Nigeria, information on the inherent health risks arising from its consumption is scarce. This study investigated the heavy metal hazards of popular energy drinks in Nigeria. Methods: Heavy metals in thirty different brands of energy drinks were analysed using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Lead, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, and nickel levels in these energy drinks were compared with permissible limits given by World Health Organization (WHO), United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and European Union (EU). The daily intake (DI) and target hazard quotient (THQ) were calculated. Results: For lead, 66.7%, 3.3%, and 66.7% of the energy drinks violated the WHO, EPA and EU permissible limits respectively; for chromium, only 36.7, 23.3 and 36.7% violated the WHO, EPA and EU permissible limits respectively; and for cobalt, 70% and 86.7% of the energy drinks violated the EU permissible limits. Total Hazard Quotient values for all the drinks were below 1. The estimated/calculated amount of chromium, cobalt, lead and nickel of an energy drink of a consumer who takes an average weekly volume of 1.5 L, (1.5 L of the 3 energy drinks) were 1.3857, 0.8736, 0.1845 and 1.5159 mg/L respectively. Only 33.3% of the energy drinks had negligible levels of daily intake for lead. Conclusion: Lead, chromium, nickel and cobalt levels in some energy drinks in Nigeria are much higher than the permissible limits and continuous consumption may increase the burden of these metals on the body.

Keywords: Daily intake, functional beverages, hazard quotient, health risk, heavy metals, Nigeria

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