Assessment of the combined nitrate and nitrite exposure from food and drinking water: application of uncertainty around the nitrate to nitrite conversion factor

Annick D. van den Brand, Marja Beukers, Maryse Niekerk, Gerda van Donkersgoed, Monique van der Aa, Bianca van de Ven, Astrid Bulder, Hilko van der Voet, Corinne R. Sprong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Dietary exposure to nitrate and nitrite occurs via three main sources; occurrence in (vegetable) foods, food additives in certain processed foods and contaminants in drinking water. While nitrate can be converted to nitrite in the human body, their risk assessment is usually based on single substance exposure in different regulatory frameworks. Here, we assessed the long-term combined exposure to nitrate and nitrite from food and drinking water. Dutch monitoring data (2012–2018) and EFSA data from 2017 were used for concentration data. These were combined with data from the Dutch food consumption survey (2012–2016) to assess exposure. A conversion factor (median 0.023; range 0.008–0.07) was used to express the nitrate exposure in nitrite equivalents which was added to the nitrite exposure. The uncertainty around the conversion factor was taken into account by using conversion factors randomly sampled from the abovementioned range. The combined dietary exposure was calculated for the Dutch population (1–79 years) with different exposure scenarios to address regional differences in nitrate and nitrite concentrations in drinking water. All scenarios resulted in a combined exposure above the acceptable daily intake for nitrite ion (70 µg/kg bw), with the mean exposure varying between 95–114 µg nitrite/kg bw/day in the different scenarios. Of all ages, the combined exposure was highest in children aged 1 year with an average of 250 µg nitrite/kg bw/day. Vegetables contributed most to the combined exposure in food in all scenarios, varying from 34%–41%. Food additive use contributed 8%–9% to the exposure and drinking water contributed 3%–19%. Our study is the first to perform a combined dietary exposure assessment of nitrate and nitrite while accounting for the uncertain conversion factor. Such a combined exposure assessment overarching different regulatory frameworks and using different scenarios for drinking water is a better instrument for protecting human health than single substance exposure.

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Nitrites
Drinking Water
Nitrates
nitrites
Uncertainty
drinking water
uncertainty
nitrates
Food
dietary exposure
Food additives
Food Additives
exposure assessment
Vegetables
food additives
Processed foods
exposure scenario
vegetables
No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
acceptable daily intake

Keywords

  • conversion factor
  • drinking water
  • exposure assessment
  • food additives
  • Nitrate
  • nitrite

Cite this

@article{571bfd5e0cbb44c88c5a12ea13f2de07,
title = "Assessment of the combined nitrate and nitrite exposure from food and drinking water: application of uncertainty around the nitrate to nitrite conversion factor",
abstract = "Dietary exposure to nitrate and nitrite occurs via three main sources; occurrence in (vegetable) foods, food additives in certain processed foods and contaminants in drinking water. While nitrate can be converted to nitrite in the human body, their risk assessment is usually based on single substance exposure in different regulatory frameworks. Here, we assessed the long-term combined exposure to nitrate and nitrite from food and drinking water. Dutch monitoring data (2012–2018) and EFSA data from 2017 were used for concentration data. These were combined with data from the Dutch food consumption survey (2012–2016) to assess exposure. A conversion factor (median 0.023; range 0.008–0.07) was used to express the nitrate exposure in nitrite equivalents which was added to the nitrite exposure. The uncertainty around the conversion factor was taken into account by using conversion factors randomly sampled from the abovementioned range. The combined dietary exposure was calculated for the Dutch population (1–79 years) with different exposure scenarios to address regional differences in nitrate and nitrite concentrations in drinking water. All scenarios resulted in a combined exposure above the acceptable daily intake for nitrite ion (70 µg/kg bw), with the mean exposure varying between 95–114 µg nitrite/kg bw/day in the different scenarios. Of all ages, the combined exposure was highest in children aged 1 year with an average of 250 µg nitrite/kg bw/day. Vegetables contributed most to the combined exposure in food in all scenarios, varying from 34{\%}–41{\%}. Food additive use contributed 8{\%}–9{\%} to the exposure and drinking water contributed 3{\%}–19{\%}. Our study is the first to perform a combined dietary exposure assessment of nitrate and nitrite while accounting for the uncertain conversion factor. Such a combined exposure assessment overarching different regulatory frameworks and using different scenarios for drinking water is a better instrument for protecting human health than single substance exposure.",
keywords = "conversion factor, drinking water, exposure assessment, food additives, Nitrate, nitrite",
author = "{van den Brand}, {Annick D.} and Marja Beukers and Maryse Niekerk and {van Donkersgoed}, Gerda and {van der Aa}, Monique and {van de Ven}, Bianca and Astrid Bulder and {van der Voet}, Hilko and Sprong, {Corinne R.}",
year = "2020",
month = "1",
day = "16",
doi = "10.1080/19440049.2019.1707294",
language = "English",
journal = "Food Additives & Contaminants. Pt. A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment",
issn = "1944-0049",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

Assessment of the combined nitrate and nitrite exposure from food and drinking water: application of uncertainty around the nitrate to nitrite conversion factor. / van den Brand, Annick D.; Beukers, Marja; Niekerk, Maryse; van Donkersgoed, Gerda; van der Aa, Monique; van de Ven, Bianca; Bulder, Astrid; van der Voet, Hilko; Sprong, Corinne R.

In: Food Additives and Contaminants - Part A Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, 16.01.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Assessment of the combined nitrate and nitrite exposure from food and drinking water: application of uncertainty around the nitrate to nitrite conversion factor

AU - van den Brand, Annick D.

AU - Beukers, Marja

AU - Niekerk, Maryse

AU - van Donkersgoed, Gerda

AU - van der Aa, Monique

AU - van de Ven, Bianca

AU - Bulder, Astrid

AU - van der Voet, Hilko

AU - Sprong, Corinne R.

PY - 2020/1/16

Y1 - 2020/1/16

N2 - Dietary exposure to nitrate and nitrite occurs via three main sources; occurrence in (vegetable) foods, food additives in certain processed foods and contaminants in drinking water. While nitrate can be converted to nitrite in the human body, their risk assessment is usually based on single substance exposure in different regulatory frameworks. Here, we assessed the long-term combined exposure to nitrate and nitrite from food and drinking water. Dutch monitoring data (2012–2018) and EFSA data from 2017 were used for concentration data. These were combined with data from the Dutch food consumption survey (2012–2016) to assess exposure. A conversion factor (median 0.023; range 0.008–0.07) was used to express the nitrate exposure in nitrite equivalents which was added to the nitrite exposure. The uncertainty around the conversion factor was taken into account by using conversion factors randomly sampled from the abovementioned range. The combined dietary exposure was calculated for the Dutch population (1–79 years) with different exposure scenarios to address regional differences in nitrate and nitrite concentrations in drinking water. All scenarios resulted in a combined exposure above the acceptable daily intake for nitrite ion (70 µg/kg bw), with the mean exposure varying between 95–114 µg nitrite/kg bw/day in the different scenarios. Of all ages, the combined exposure was highest in children aged 1 year with an average of 250 µg nitrite/kg bw/day. Vegetables contributed most to the combined exposure in food in all scenarios, varying from 34%–41%. Food additive use contributed 8%–9% to the exposure and drinking water contributed 3%–19%. Our study is the first to perform a combined dietary exposure assessment of nitrate and nitrite while accounting for the uncertain conversion factor. Such a combined exposure assessment overarching different regulatory frameworks and using different scenarios for drinking water is a better instrument for protecting human health than single substance exposure.

AB - Dietary exposure to nitrate and nitrite occurs via three main sources; occurrence in (vegetable) foods, food additives in certain processed foods and contaminants in drinking water. While nitrate can be converted to nitrite in the human body, their risk assessment is usually based on single substance exposure in different regulatory frameworks. Here, we assessed the long-term combined exposure to nitrate and nitrite from food and drinking water. Dutch monitoring data (2012–2018) and EFSA data from 2017 were used for concentration data. These were combined with data from the Dutch food consumption survey (2012–2016) to assess exposure. A conversion factor (median 0.023; range 0.008–0.07) was used to express the nitrate exposure in nitrite equivalents which was added to the nitrite exposure. The uncertainty around the conversion factor was taken into account by using conversion factors randomly sampled from the abovementioned range. The combined dietary exposure was calculated for the Dutch population (1–79 years) with different exposure scenarios to address regional differences in nitrate and nitrite concentrations in drinking water. All scenarios resulted in a combined exposure above the acceptable daily intake for nitrite ion (70 µg/kg bw), with the mean exposure varying between 95–114 µg nitrite/kg bw/day in the different scenarios. Of all ages, the combined exposure was highest in children aged 1 year with an average of 250 µg nitrite/kg bw/day. Vegetables contributed most to the combined exposure in food in all scenarios, varying from 34%–41%. Food additive use contributed 8%–9% to the exposure and drinking water contributed 3%–19%. Our study is the first to perform a combined dietary exposure assessment of nitrate and nitrite while accounting for the uncertain conversion factor. Such a combined exposure assessment overarching different regulatory frameworks and using different scenarios for drinking water is a better instrument for protecting human health than single substance exposure.

KW - conversion factor

KW - drinking water

KW - exposure assessment

KW - food additives

KW - Nitrate

KW - nitrite

U2 - 10.1080/19440049.2019.1707294

DO - 10.1080/19440049.2019.1707294

M3 - Article

JO - Food Additives & Contaminants. Pt. A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment

JF - Food Additives & Contaminants. Pt. A, Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure & Risk Assessment

SN - 1944-0049

ER -