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Posted by on in Centers of Excellence
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Posted on behalf of author Lindsey Garnick


Anderson et al. published “A pilot study to assess lead exposure from routine consumption of coffee and tea from ceramic mugs: comparison to California Safe Harbor Levels” in the International Journal of Food Contamination. The authors investigated potential lead exposure from coffee and tea consumed from ceramic mugs. The concentration of lead in coffee and tea brewed in the mugs was measured at two different time points, and results were compared to California’s Safe Harbor Levels under Proposition 65 as well as other benchmarks. Additionally, the estimated changes in adult and fetal blood lead levels were modeled using EPA’s Adult Lead Methodology model.

The general findings were as follows:

·         The results suggested that lead in ceramic mugs can leach into coffee and tea.

·         No statistical differences were found between the measured concentrations of lead in coffee, tea, or water within each cup, or in the measured concentrations of lead between retention times within each cup.

·         Statistically significant differences were observed in the lead concentrations measured between cups, indicating that the lead concentrations were dependent on the cup used, rather than beverage or retention time.

·         The estimated daily dose of lead consumed from the coffee or tea brewed in the cups exceeded the California Maximum Allowable Dose Level of 0.5 µg/day for one of the five mugs tested.

This study should be considered a pilot study that provides data on potential lead exposures from daily beverage consumption among typical coffee and tea consumers.

The article is available for full-text access here. If you have any questions regarding the paper, please contact Lindsey Garnick or Shannon Gaffney.

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Ms. Melanie Nembhard is an Associate Health Scientist with Cardno ChemRisk in the San Francisco, CA office. She earned her MSPH in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also holds two certificates from Johns Hopkins, the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Certificate and the Population and Health Certificate. Ms. Nembhard’s principal areas of training and expertise include industrial hygiene and risk assessment. Since joining Cardno ChemRisk, she has provided litigation support for cases related to asbestos, benzene, butadiene, diacetyl, worker safety, welding, sunscreen, dermal exposures to various chemicals, and inhalation irritants. Additionally, she has participated in baseline exposure assessments at multiple oil refineries regarding occupational and environmental exposures to various chemical and physical agents, including particulates, volatile organic compounds, and noise.

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