Skip to main content

Arsenic Concentration in Tobacco Leaves: A Study on Three Commercially Important Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) Types

Abstract

In recent years, arsenic (As) has received increased attention as humans may be exposed to it through occupational and environmental exposure. Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) like other crops can uptake this element from the soil, which may lead to human exposure. Here, we report on a survey on arsenic in cured or processed tobacco leaves obtained from Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America. A total of 1,431 leaf samples of flue-cured, burley, and Oriental tobaccos were obtained from various sampling locations during 2002 to 2004. Arsenic concentration in the samples averaged 0.4 ± 0.6 μg g−1 as determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Recorded values from most samples showed that concentrations of arsenic were usually found at the lower end of the distribution. Significant differences were found among tobacco types, sampling locations, and crop years. Arsenic concentrations were rather low in the majority of regions investigated, which is compatible with data from the literature. However, sample size was small and sampling geographically restricted. Our results would need to be validated with a larger dataset.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Chiba, M., & Masironi, R. (1992). Toxic and trace elements in tobacco and tobacco smoke. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 70, 269–275.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Corrêa, S., da Rosa, G. R., Rigon, L., Reetz, E., Vencato, A., & Beling, R. R. (2005). Anuário brasileiro do fumo 2005. Santa Cruz do Sul. Editoria Gazeta Santa Cruz.

  • Dybczynski, R., Polkowska-Motrenko, H., Samczynski, Z., & Szopa, Z. (1997). Preparation and certification of the Polish reference material “Virginia Tobacco Leaves” (CTA-VTL-2) for inorganic trace analysis including microanalysis. INCT Reports, Series A, 3.

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1998). Substance name–arsenic, inorganic. CASRN 7440-38-2. Last Revised April 10, 1998. Retrieved February 28 2007 from http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0278.htm.

  • Gulz, P. A., Gupta, S. K., & Schulin, R. (2005). Arsenic accumulation of common plants from contaminated soils. Plant Soil, 272, 337–347.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • IARC (1987). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans. Supplement 7. Overall evaluations of carcinogenicity: An updating of IARC Monographs Volumes 1 to 42 (Lyon).

  • IARC (2004). IARC monographs on the evaluation of the carcinogenic risk of chemicals to humans, vol. 84. Some drinking-water disinfectants and contaminants, including arsenic. (Lyon).

  • Labstat Inc. (1995). A historical survey of the arsenic contents of Canadian cigarette tobacco (1968–1995). Final report. Retrieved from http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mci01d00.

  • Liao, X. Y., Chen, T. B., Xie, H., & Liu, Y. R. (2005). Soil As contamination and its risk assessment in areas near the industrial districts of Chenzhou City, Southern China. Environment International, 31, 791–798.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Lugon-Moulin, N., Martin, F., Krauss, M., Ramey, P. B., & Rossi, L. (2006). Cadmium concentration in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) from different countries and its relationship with other elements. Chemosphere, 63, 1074–1086.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Purkayastha, B. C., & Bhattacharyya, D. K. (1975). Determination of gold and arsenic in Indian tobacco leaves. Radiochemical and Radioanalytical Letters, 23, 43–47.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rodgman, A., & Green, C. R. (2002). Toxic chemicals in cigarette mainstream smoke- Hazard and hoopla. Beiträge zur Tabakforschung International, 20, 481–545.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, C. J., Livingston, S. D., & Doolittle, D. J. (1997). An international literature survey of “IARC Group I carcinogens” reported in mainstream cigarette smoke. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 35, 1107–30.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, E., Naidu, R., & Alston, A. M. (1998). Arsenic in the soil environment: A Review. Advances in Agronomy, 64, 149–195.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tso, T. C. (1990). Production, physiology, and biochemistry of tobacco plants. Beltsville, MD: Ideals.

    Google Scholar 

  • WHO (2001). Arsenic and arsenic compounds. Environmental Health Criteria, vol. 224. Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank Gilbert Schneider (Philip Morris International) for his help in obtaining the samples; Cécile Panighini (Philip Morris International) for technical support; Paolo Donini (Philip Morris International), Steve Haut and Ujwala Warek (Philip Morris USA) for helpful comments on a previous draft of this manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nicolas Lugon-Moulin.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lugon-Moulin, N., Martin, F., Krauss, M.R. et al. Arsenic Concentration in Tobacco Leaves: A Study on Three Commercially Important Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) Types. Water Air Soil Pollut 192, 315–319 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-008-9658-3

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-008-9658-3

Keywords

  • Arsenic
  • Metalloids
  • Nicotiana tabacum L.
  • Tobacco