Analysis of non-carcinogenic health risk assessment of elemental impurities in vitamin C supplements

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Pharmacy Services, Vocational School of Health Services, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Çanakkale, Turkey


Objective(s): Elemental impurity exposure that may occur in the use of supplements has the potential to pose a risk to human health. Vitamin C supplements are among the most commonly used supplements on a daily basis and in the long-term due to the pharmacological properties of vitamin C. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the non-carcinogenic health risk of elemental impurities that may cause contamination in orally administered vitamin C supplements.
Materials and Methods: Ten elemental impurities (Cd, Pb, As, Hg, Co, V, Ni, Cr, Sb, and Sn) in 12 supplements were analyzed using ICP-MS. The estimated daily intake (EDI), hazard quotient (HQ), and hazard index (HI) values of elemental impurities were calculated for non-carcinogenic risk assessment. Cancer risk (CR) was additionally calculated for elemental impurities with carcinogenic properties detected in the samples.
Results: Low levels of Cr and Hg were detected in some samples. While the HQ values of sample 1, sample 2, sample 8, and sample 9 for Hg were calculated as 0.054, 0.096, 0.064, and 0.086, respectively, the HQ values of sample 5, sample 10, and sample 11 for Cr were calculated as 0.011, 0.017, and 0.014, respectively.  Since only Hg or only Cr was detected in samples with elemental impurity, the HI values in the samples are the same as the HQ values. Since the HQ and HI values calculated from the samples are not≥1, there is no elemental impurity at a level that will hazard human health through supplement use. Other carcinogenic elements were not detected in the samples except Cr. In sample 5, sample 10, and sample 11, the CR values for Cr were 1.767.10-5, 2.571.10-5, and 2.089.10-5, respectively. In probability simulation, while HQ and CR values of Cr did not exceed the allowable value, the HQ level for Hg in the 95% slice was higher than the allowable value.
Conclusion: There is no risk to human health and there is no critical difference between the supplements considering the elemental pollutant content among the vitamin C supplements of different trademarks. However, in order to keep the Hg level, which has a potential risk capacity, at low limits, it is recommended that the necessary risk-reducing measures be taken by the authorities and further studies be carried out.


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