Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2011;28(7):925-42. doi: 10.1080/19440049.2011.569573. Epub 2011 May 13.

Monitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in food supplements containing botanicals and other ingredients on the Dutch market.

Author information

  • 1a Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA) , PO Box 2168 , NL-5600 CD Eindhoven , the Netherlands.


Food supplements can contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has defined 16 priority PAH that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic and identified eight priority PAH (PAH8) or four of these (PAH4) as good indicators of the toxicity and occurrence of PAH in food. The current study aimed to determine benzo[a]pyrene and other EFSA priority PAH in different categories of food supplements containing botanicals and other ingredients. From 2003 to 2008, benzo[a]pyrene exceeded the limit of quantification (LOQ) in 553 (44%) of 1258 supplements with a lower-bound mean of 3.37 µg kg(-1). In 2008 and 2009, benzo[a]pyrene and 12 other EFSA priority PAH were determined in 333 food supplements. Benzo[a]pyrene exceeded the LOQ in 210 (63%) food supplements with a lower-bound mean of 5.26 µg kg(-1). Lower-bound mean levels for PAH4 and PAH8(-indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene) were 33.5 and 40.5 µg kg(-1), respectively. Supplements containing resveratrol, Ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort and propolis showed relatively high PAH4 levels in 2008 and 2009. Before 2008, supplements with these ingredients and also dong quai, green tea or valerian contained relatively high benzo[a]pyrene levels. On average, PAH4 intake resulting from food supplement use will be at the lower end of the range of contributions of main food groups to PAH4 exposure, although individual food supplements can contribute significantly to PAH4 exposure. Regular control of EFSA indicator PAH levels in food supplements may prove a way forward to reduce further the intake of PAH from food.


HPLC; PAH; dietary supplements; nutritional supplements

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Taylor & Francis
    Loading ...
    Support Center