Medescape

Skepticism, Medicine and Science News

Metallic Wine

A recent meta-analysis shows that several wines contain possibly hazardous levels of heavy metals such as vanadium, copper and manganese. This was reported in Scientific American, and the study was done at Kingston University in London. The researchers say the levels of heavy metals may have a lifetime health risk when consumed regularly, and some of the highest levels found where a THQ (target hazard quotient) of 300, where a THQ of under 1.0 is considered non-hazardous. The wines tested were from Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Jordan, Macedonia, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain.

Vanadium in the air can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation, but the effects of ingested vanadium is not known.

Manganese can, when ingested in larger amounts, damage the nervous system, causing a disease called manganism.

Copper is also known to be toxic, possibly causing increased oxidative stress, childhood chirrosis and self-limited gastroenteritis (click here for more information on gastroenteritis).

The researchers does not know how the metal ions get into the wine, but possible sources include the soil, yeast and pesticides. The inherent weaknesses of meta-analyses should be taken into account when reviewing this study, and more research should be done before any definite conclusions can be made.

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November 3, 2008 - Posted by | General Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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