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Heavy Metals Can Taint Wine
Date:10/30/2008

Could be a possible health hazard, British researchers say

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The cardiac benefits of wine have been touted for years, but heavy metal contamination found in some European red and white wines could turn a health benefit into a hazard, British researchers report.

Heavy metals have been linked to neurological problems such as Parkinson's disease and may also increase oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic inflammatory disease and cancer, the researchers noted.

"We used literature reports of concentrations of metals in wines originating from 16 countries to determine the Target Hazard Quotients (THQ) for these wines," said lead researcher Declan Naughton, a professor of biomolecular sciences at Kingston University in South West London. "Many of the wines gave very high THQ values, which is concerning."

Among wines from Portugal, Austria, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany, Serbia, Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Jordan, Macedonia, Slovakia and Greece, only three countries had wines that posed no hazard from heavy metals.

Based on the wines analyzed, only those from Argentina, Brazil and Italy had THQ values that were below 1.0.

The report was published in the Oct. 30 online edition of Chemistry Central Journal.

For the study, Naughton and his colleague Andrea Petroczi used the THQ, a formula developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to look for seven heavy metals in wines. These included vanadium, copper, manganese, nickel, zinc, chromium and lead.

Naughton and Petroczi found that most wines had THQ values much higher than 1.0. In fact, THQ values typically ranged from 50 to 200. Red and white wines from Hungary and Slovakia reached THQ levels of 300.

"For consumption of 250 mL (8.5 oz.) daily, these wines give very high THQ values and may present detrimental health concerns through a lifetime," Naughto
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