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Food Addit Contam. 1986 Oct-Dec;3(4):347-54.

Lead in alcoholic beverages.


Following the finding that blood lead concentrations in middle-aged men were positively associated with alcohol consumption, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution recommended that information on lead in alcoholic beverages be obtained. The results reported here were obtained in response to the Royal Commission's request. About 90% of canned and bottled beers contained less than or equal to 10 micrograms/l of lead, whereas nearly half the draught beers sampled contained greater than 10 micrograms/l and 4% contained greater than 100 micrograms/l. Opening the cans and bottles and pouring the contents into a glass had no significant effect on the lead concentration in the beer. All wines sampled directly from the bottle, that is without pouring, contained less than 250 micrograms/l of lead. However the lead concentration in some wines contained in lead-capped bottles increased significantly when the wine was poured from the bottle, in one instance the increment was 1890 micrograms/l. It is concluded that consumption of beer containing 50 micrograms/l of lead could make a substantial contribution to blood lead concentrations in man. Consumption of 1 l/day of wine containing 150 micrograms/l of lead could also make a major contribution to blood lead concentrations. Lead contamination of wine when it is poured from a bottle, which had been lead-capped, can sometimes greatly increase lead concentrations in the wine.

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