Iron nutrition and possible lead toxicity: an appraisal of geophagy undertaken by pregnant women of UK Asian communities

Peter W. Abrahams, Mark H. Follansbee, Andrew Hunt, Barry Smith

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Abstract

A cultural transfer of geophagy is evident in the UK, with soils imported from Bengal being deliberately consumed mainly by pregnant Asian women. Two samples purchased from ethnic shops were subjected to a 2-part acid–alkaline in vitro physiologically based extraction test (PBET) procedure, representing the stomach and small intestine of the human digestive system respectively, to determine the bioaccessibility of elements. Despite the low bioaccessibility of Fe, with the quantity of soil consumed one sample can provide 41–54% of this mineral nutrient required by a 15–18 year old female, with the other sample providing 90–119%. Significant amounts of Ca, Cu and Mn are also supplied to the consumer, whilst further research investigating the possible effects of Pb toxicity on the geophagist would seem to be justified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-108
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Geochemistry
Volume21
Issue number1
Early online date28 Nov 2005
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2006

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