• Heavy metal intake through food by adults, selected EU countries, Arsenic (Bar chart)
  • Heavy metal intake through food by adults, selected EU countries, Cadmium (Bar chart)
  • Heavy metal intake through food by adults, selected EU countries, Lead (Bar chart)
  • Heavy metal intake through food by adults, selected EU countries, Mercury (Bar chart)
Data set notes
Environment and Health

Indicators: 59
Updated: 15 July 2019
Downloads: 1342

Indicator notes

Data source
The data used for this indicator were collected from the SCOOP reports by EFSA (27) and from the GEMS/Food database (2).

Description of data
SCOOP projects are specific projects launched in the EU for estimating dietary intake of contaminants, carried out before EFSA was set up. Data from Member States were collected but the methods and techniques were not harmonized, so the quality of data and the results may vary among countries.
The GEMS/Food total diet study database contains information from 1971 to 2005 on dietary contaminants in 15 countries in Europe. Information is submitted to the database by participating institutions, which use standardized methods for measuring contaminants and submitting data. The database contains information from total diet studies, which provide the most accurate estimate of dietary intakes of contaminants. By explicitly taking into account the kitchen preparation of foods, total diet studies assess the levels of contaminants in food as it is consumed.

Method of calculating the indicator
The exposure is estimated by average intake of selected chemicals. This includes data on the presence of a chemical in individual foods and diets, including its fate during the processes within the food production chain, and data on the consumption patterns of the individual foods containing the relevant chemicals.

Geographical coverage
For SCOOP data: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
For GEMS/FOOD data: the Czech Republic.

Period of coverage
2004 for SCOOP; 1994–2007 for GEMS/FOOD.

Frequency of update
For SCOOP data, the measures were not repeated in time. GEMS/FOOD data were updated annually.

Data quality
Data from both sources refer mostly to the adult population. Specific data on the exposure of children are not available.
SCOOP data are collected from different countries, with no harmonized methods and techniques so that the quality of data from different countries may vary. They only reflect the situation at one point in time; there are no updates for time-trend estimation.
The GEMS/Food data from the Czech Republic are lower than SCOOP data and it was not possible to clarify this difference. The data are, therefore, only valuable in showing trends in food contamination over time for the Czech Republic.
To assess the exposure of children to hazardous chemicals in food, their actual dietary intake should be assessed. To compare exposure across all the WHO European Member States, a standard methodology should be employed. In particular, attention should be paid to collecting data on representative samples of the child population. Standardizing the methods of data collection across the Region can strengthen common efforts for the development of policies and action to reduce hazardous exposures and their effects on health.
Country notes
No information