Global environmental pollution is becoming more serious, and most dietary salts come from nature. We postulated that chemical pollutants could affect the quality of salt. Forty-five different types of salt were collected from supermarkets, convenience stores, and online retailers in Shanghai, 2015. These comprised more than 90% of all cooking salts consumed in Shanghai, China. We measured and analyzed heavy metal elements, fluoride, potassium ferrocyanide, and 16 phthalate plasticizers. Lead was detected in only two types of salt at concentrations recorded of 0.047 mg/kg and 0.077 mg/kg. The concentrations of total arsenic, total mercury, cadmium, and barium were under limit of detection (LOD) in all samples. The maximum fluoride concentration of salts was 2.50 mg/kg. The median fluoride concentration of domestic salts was significantly lower than foreign-produced salts, and it was significantly higher in sea salt than in other types of salt (P < 0.05). The maximum potassium ferrocyanide concentration in 12 types of salts was 9.20 mg/kg, which was under the Chinese national standard. Just three salt types had low levels of diethylhexyl phthalate concentrations that were above the LOD, at 0.208 mg/kg, 0.375 mg/kg, and 0.380 mg/kg, respectively. All other phthalate indicators were below the LOD in all samples. The level of chemical pollutants in salt is either very low or under LOD. We believe that dietary salt products are safe at retail, and the long-term dietary exposure of cooking salts will not pose any significant health risk.
Salt Diethylhexyl phthalate Lead Fluoride Potassium ferrocyanide
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
We appreciate the data on cooking salt consumption in Shanghai provided by the China National Salt Industry Group Co., LTD.
The current study was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 81602851), Excellent Young Talents of Health System in Shanghai (No. 2017YQ043), the Fourth Three-Year Public Health Program (NO.GWIV-27.1), and Key Disciplines (No.15GWZK0801). None of the above funders played a role in the study design, data analysis or manuscript writing.
Xiaodong Jia and Zhengyuan Wang designed the study, wrote the protocol, and directed its implementation. Zhengyuan Wang and Jingzhe Zhou performed the statistical analysis. Zhengyuan Wang conducted the literature review and wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Hipgrave DB, Chang S, Li X, Wu Y (2016) Salt and sodium intake in China. Jama 315:703–705CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Yang D, Shi H, Li L, Li J, Jabeen K et al (2014) Microplastic pollution in table salts from China. Environ Sci Technol 49:13622–13627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cho SC, Bhang SY, Hong YC, Shin MS, Kim BN, Kim JW, Yoo HJ, Cho IH, Kim HW (2010) Relationship between environmental phthalate exposure and the intelligence of school-age children. Environ Health Perspect 118:1027–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ling J, Lopez-Dee ZP, Cottell C, Wolfe L, Nye D (2016) Regulation of mRNA translation is a novel mechanism for phthalate toxicity. PLoS One 11:e0167914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mahaboob Basha P, Radha MJ (2017) Gestational di-n-butyl phthalate exposure induced developmental and teratogenic anomalies in rats: a multigenerational assessment. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 24:4537–4551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huang PC, Tsai CH, Liang WY, Li SS, Pan WH, Chiang HC (2015) Age and gender differences in urinary levels of eleven phthalate metabolites in general Taiwanese population after a DEHP episode. PLoS One 10:e0133782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tan W, Zhang Y, He X, Xi B, Gao R, Mao X, Huang C, Zhang H, Li D, Liang Q, Cui D, Alshawabkeh AN (2016) Distribution patterns of phthalic acid esters in soil particle-size fractions determine biouptake in soil-cereal crop systems. Sci Rep 6:31987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Landrigan PJ, Fuller R (2014) Environmental pollution and occupational health in a changing world. Ann Glob Health 80:245–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Domingo JL (2016) Nutrients and chemical pollutants in fish and shellfish. Balancing health benefits and risks of regular fish consumption. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 56:979–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Heberer T (2009) Zero tolerance of chemical pollutants in food and animal feed: European policies and public health. J Epidemiol Community Health 63:865–866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wardrop P, Shimeta J, Nugegoda D, Morrison PD, Miranda A, Tang M, Clarke BO (2016) Chemical pollutants sorbed to ingested microbeads from personal care products accumulate in fish. Environ Sci Technol 50:4037–4044CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thundiyil JG, Solomon GM, Miller MD (2007) Transgenerational exposures: persistent chemical pollutants in the environment and breast milk. Pediatr Clin N Am 54:81–101 ixCrossRefGoogle Scholar
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (2010) Food additive summary and conclusion seventy-third meeting. FAO/WHO, GenevaGoogle Scholar
Mao X, Yang D, Sui H, Liu A (2016) Risk assessment of dietary lead exposure in Chinese adult population. Chinese J Food Hyg 28:107–110 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (2010) Food additive summary and conclusion seventy-second meeting. FAO/WHO, RomeGoogle Scholar
The state health and family planning commission of the People’s Republic of China (2015) GB 2721-2015 National food safety standards edible salt. China Standards Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
The state health and family planning commission of the People’s Republic of China (2014) GB 2760-2014 National food safety standards-standards of food additives. Beijing. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
Levy SM, Broffitt B, Marshall TA, Eichenberger-Gilmore JM, Warren JJ (2010) Associations between fluorosis of permanent incisors and fluoride intake from infant formula, other dietary sources and dentifrice during early childhood. J Am Dent Assoc 141:1190–1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tang QQ, Du J, Ma HH, Jiang SJ, Zhou XJ (2008) Fluoride and children’s intelligence: a meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res 126:115–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mandinic Z, Curcic M, Antonijevic B, Lekic CP, Carevic M (2009) Relationship between fluoride intake in Serbian children living in two areas with different natural levels of fluorides and occurrence of dental fluorosis. Food Chem Toxicol 47:1080–1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chinese nutrition society (2014) Chinese dietary reference intakes (2013 version). Science press, Beijin (in Chinese)Google Scholar
Soeborg T, Frederiksen H, Andersson AM (2012) Cumulative risk assessment of phthalate exposure of Danish children and adolescents using the hazard index approach. Int J Androl 35:245–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hartmann C, Uhl M, Weiss S, Koch HM, Scharf S, König J (2015) Human biomonitoring of phthalate exposure in Austrian children and adults and cumulative risk assessment. Int J Hyg Environ Health 218:489–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kortenkamp A, Faust M (2010) Combined exposures to anti-androgenic chemicals: steps towards cumulative risk assessment. Int J Androl 33:463–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Singh S, Li SS (2011) Phthalates: toxicogenomics and inferred human diseases. Genomics 97:148–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fromme H, Gruber L, Schuster R, Schlummer M, Kiranoglu M, Bolte G, Völkel W (2013) Phthalate and di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA) intake by German infants based on the results of a duplicate diet study and biomonitoring data (INES 2). Food Chem Toxicol 53:272–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Union OJotE. Commission regulation ( EU) (2011) No 10 /2011 of 14 January on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.)Google Scholar
Ministry of health of the People’s Republic of China (2008) GB 9685-2008 Containers, packagings used additives health standard. China Standards Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar