Lead in rice: analysis of baseline lead levels in market and field collected rice grains

Gareth J Norton*, Paul N Williams, Eureka E Adomako, Adam H Price, Yongguan Zhu, Fang-Jie Zhao, Steve McGrath, Claire M Deacon, Antia Villada, Alessia Sommella, Ying Lu, Lei Ming, P Mangala C S De Silva, Hugh Brammer, Tapash Dasgupta, M Rafiqul Islam, Andrew A Meharg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


In a large scale survey of rice grains from markets (13 countries) and fields (6 countries), a total of 1578 rice grain samples were analysed for lead. From the market collected samples, only 0.6% of the samples exceeded the Chinese and EU limit of 0.2 μg g(-1) lead in rice (when excluding samples collected from known contaminated/mine impacted regions). When evaluating the rice grain samples against the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) provisional total tolerable intake (PTTI) values for children and pregnant women, it was found that only people consuming large quantities of rice were at risk of exceeding the PTTI from rice alone. Furthermore, 6 field experiments were conducted to evaluate the proportion of the variation in lead concentration in rice grains due to genetics. A total of 4 of the 6 field experiments had significant differences between genotypes, but when the genotypes common across all six field sites were assessed, only 4% of the variation was explained by genotype, with 9.5% and 11% of the variation explained by the environment and genotype by environment interaction respectively. Further work is needed to identify the sources of lead contamination in rice, with detailed information obtained on the locations and environments where the rice is sampled, so that specific risk assessments can be performed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
Early online date16 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • lead
  • rice
  • risk assessment
  • genetic variation
  • market survey


Dive into the research topics of 'Lead in rice: analysis of baseline lead levels in market and field collected rice grains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this