Researchers at the Reference Laboratory for Food Chemistry, Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have discovered more toxins in cigarettes than previously thought. The researchers analyzed 60 tobacco samples from 8 popular cigarettes brands commercially available in the Saudi market. They found significant concentrations of toxic metals and banned pesticides.
The researchers used UCT QuEChERS products to perform the pesticides extractions and clean-up. Extraction salts consisted of CEN EN 15662, 4 g. of MgSO4, 1 g. NaCl, 1 g sodium citrate dihydrate, and 0.5 g. disodium hydrogen citrate sesquihydrate (UCT # ECQUEU750CT-MP). Extract clean-up used UCT# ECQUEU615CT, which contained 900 mg. MgSO4, 150 mg. primary secondary amine (PSA), and 45 mg. of graphitized carbon black (GCB).
Samples were screened for 407 pesticides and Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Cobalt (Co), Chromium (Cr), Mercury (Hg), Nickle (Ni), and Lead (Pb). LC/MS/MS and GC/MS/MS were used for pesticide analysis, and elements were analyzed using ICP/MS.
23 pesticide residues were detected in all but one brand of cigarettes, consisting of azoxystrobin, carbendazim, cyprodinil, fludioxonil, flutriafol, metalaxyl, 2-phenylphenol, tebuconazole, thiabendazole, thiophanate-methyl, triadimenol, and trifloxystrobin, acetamiprid, anthraquinone, chlorantraniliprole, imidacloprid, permethrin (trans), piperonyl butoxide, tetramethrin I, triflumuron, alachlor, bromopropylate, and pendimethalin. The average concentration of all detected pesticides ranged from 0.004 to 1.155 ppm.
The average elemental concentration found in eight tobacco brands was in the following order: Hg < As <Pb < Cd < Co < Cr < Ni.
The study analyzed tobacco for particulate trace elements of heavy metals, metalloids, and pesticide residues. Results indicate that tobacco contains significant concentrations of toxic metal(loid)s and banned pesticides. Heavy metals; As, Cr, Cd, Pd, and Ni were present in all samples. The calculated ILCR values show that these carcinogenic elements present in cigarette smoke can cause a significant increase in lifetime cancer risk.
Mohammed A. Al Mutairi, Hatim A. Al Herbish, Rakan S. Al-Ajmi, Hatim Z. Alhazmi, Reham A. Al-Dhelaan & Abdullah M. Alowaifeer (2022) Analyzing pesticides and metal(loid)s in imported tobacco to Saudi Arabia and risk assessment of inhalation exposure to certain metals, Inhalation Toxicology.