Topic

Heavy metals in pediatric syrups

Title

Heavy metal hazards of pediatric syrup administration in Nigeria: a look at chromium, nickel and manganese

Conclusion

Ingestion of these syrups may constitute a significant source of heavy metal exposure to children.

Authors

Nduka JK, Orisakwe OE

Citation

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009;6(7):1972-9

Context

Anambra State, Nigeria

Abstract

Fifty different pediatric syrups were randomly sampled from patent medicine stores and pharmaceutical shops within Awka (Anambra State, Nigeria) between November 2007 and May 2008. Syrups were ashed before digestion using conc. aqua regia, HCl: HNO3 (3:1). Chromium, nickel and manganese were assayed with AAS 205A. The highest levels of nickel were seen in Magcid suspension (4.13 mg/L) and Gaviron (0.79 mg/L) whereas lowest levels were found in Asco-J vitamin and Jawaron Syrup (0.01 mg/L). About 44.1, 73.6 and 20.6% of the sampled syrups made in Nigeria had non detectable levels of nickel, chromium and manganese respectively. Chromium levels ranged from 0.01 mg/L in Magcid suspension to 0.58 mg/L in emvite. Ferobin and Jawaron Syrup plus had 28.23 and 4.37 mg/L manganese, respectively. With the exception of Cephalexin Syrup, all the imported syrups had non detectable levels of chromium. The level of chromium in Cephalexin Syrup was 0.01 mg/L. About 68.8 and 43.7% of these imported syrups had non-detectable levels of nickel and manganese respectively. Nickel levels ranged from 0.01-0.09 mg/L in the imported syrups. Haemoglobin Syrup showed highest level of manganese of 0.36 mg/L whereas the lowest concentration was 0.02 mg/L in Cadiphen. Taken together the Nigerian made syrup samples had higher concentrations of the studied heavy metals. It is feared that ingestion of these syrups may constitute a significant source of heavy metal exposure to the children and should therefore be considered a public health problem. The public health hazards from ingestion of these syrups should be identified and disclosed by in-depth risk assessment studies.

Policy Implications

Regulation of heavy metal concentrations in pediatric syrups may be needed.

Keywords

nickel, manganese, cadmium