Determination of Lead and Cadmium from Spinach and Kale from Nairobi Stores

Metals and other elements can be naturally present in food or can enter food as a result of human activities such as industrial and agricultural processes. The metals of particular concern in relation to harmful effects on health are lead and cadmium which are often referred to as “heavy metals”.

Heavy metals are potential environmental contaminants with the capability of causing human health problems if present to excess in the food we eat. The toxicity of these metals is in part due to the fact that they accumulate in biological tissues, a process known as bioaccumulation. They are given special attention throughout the world due to their toxic effects even at very low concentrations. Given the wide spectrum of effects on health and the fact that these toxic metals accumulate in the body, it is essential to control levels in foodstuffs in order to protect human health. This study investigated the levels of Lead and Cadmium in spinach and kale from Nairobi area. Heavy metals were extracted from vegetables using dry ashing method. AAS was used to evaluate the level of these metals in the vegetables. Cadmium levels from all the samples were below the detection limit. All the samples gave levels lower than the detection limit for  lead except the kale sample from Uchumi supermarket.

The obtained values were compared with international guidelines and all of them were within the allowable limits for vegetables even the sample from Uchumi supermarket.

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