Estimation of toxic metals in smokeless tobacco products
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A.J Institute of Dental Sciences, Kuntikan, India
Shreshtha Shetty   

A.J Institute of Dental Sciences, Kuntikan, Mangalore, India
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A173
Unlike cigarettes, smokeless tobacco often doesn‘t get enough attention despite being a serious health hazard. In India smokeless tobacco products (SLT PRODUCTS) are attractively packaged in colorful sachets that are widely retailed at very low cost making them easily affordable, even for children. Tobacco contains over 19 known carcinogens and at least 30 metallic compounds, comprising heavy metals. Areca nut, which is combined with tobacco in several SLT products, is also a confirmed carcinogen. The presence of metals in cigarettes is well known but very few studies have been done on SLT products in India.

To estimate the toxic metals present in various forms of smokeless tobacco and areca nut products.

Commonly used SLT and Areca Nut products were purchased from local shops in Mangalore. The products collected represented the commonly used brands. Brand names have not been disclosed in this paper due to legal requirements. Wet digestion using Concentrated Nitric Acid and 10% per-chloric acid was done. Diluted digest was subjected to analysis of Nickel, Zinc, lead, Copper and cadmium using Atomic absorption spectrometry. Calibration was done using solutions of respective metal salts.

Gutka has the highest level of nickel (6.96ug/g), zinc (111ug/g), cadmium (6.58ug/g), copper (16.41ug/g) and lead (19.82ug/g). Khaini has 7.13ug/g nickel, 10.74ug/g copper and 12.67ug/g lead. Plain tobacco had the highest lead (21.74ug/g). Mawa has 10.29ug/g copper and Supari has 11.83ug/g lead.

The samples were contaminated with the metals studied which constitute a major health risk to the local population. The real issue is repeated exposure which will lead to bio accumulations over time posing a great potential health risk. The presence of such toxic metal contaminants in an already deadly consumer product demonstrates the need for strong regulation.