Toxic Metals and Trace Elements in Artisanal Honeys from the Canary Islands

  • Saray Díaz
  • Soraya Paz
  • Carmen Rubio
  • Ángel J. GutiérrezEmail author
  • Dailos González-Weller
  • Consuelo Revert
  • Antonio Bentabol
  • Arturo Hardisson


Honey is a natural product made by honey bees from the nectar of flowers or secretions produced by other living plant parts. The metal content of the honeys is related to the levels of metals in the environment. Due to the importance of honey in the human diet and the increase of environmental pollution, it is necessary to determine the content of metals in honey to evaluate the toxicological risk derived from its consumption. The objective of this study was to determine the content of 20 metals (Al, B, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, Pb, Sr, V, and Zn) in different samples of artisanal honey from the Canary Islands (Spain) in order to evaluate the dietary intake derived from the consumption of these honeys. A total of 161 samples of different types of Canary honey were analyzed by ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectrometry). K (825 mg/kg) was the macroelement found in highest concentration, while B (4.25 mg/kg) was the trace element with the highest mean concentration. Al (3.33 mg/kg) was the most abundant toxic metal, followed by Pb (0.040 mg/kg) and Cd (0.002 mg/kg). A mean consumption of 25 g/day of honey mainly contributes to the recommended daily intake of Cu (1.34% adults) and K (0.67% adults). As regards the toxic metals, the contribution percentage to the TDI (tolerable daily intake) of Pb at 2.92% for adults is noteworthy. However, the consumption of honey does not imply a high intake of metals and, therefore, does pose a risk to the health of adult men and women.


Honey Metals Bioaccumulation Contaminants ICP-OES Risk assessment 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ToxicologyUniversidad de La LagunaTenerifeSpain
  2. 2.Health Inspection and Laboratory ServiceCanary Health Service S/C de TenerifeTenerifeSpain
  3. 3.Casa de la Miel, Unidad de Valorización de Productos Agroalimentarios, Área de Agricultura, Ganadería y PescaTenerifeSpain

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