Metal contaminants found in table wines

October 30th, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 30 (IANS) If you believe drinking wine is healthy, think again. A new study by British scientists shows most table wines have high levels of metal contaminants.Researchers at Kingston University, London, tested European wines only to find that many contain hazardous levels of metal ions, particularly copper and manganese.

Excess metal in diets have been linked to Parkinson’s Disease and indirectly to heart diseases, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, said Declan Naughton, the university’s director of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences.

The researchers measure metal toxins in terms of Target Hazard Quotient (THQ). The more the THQ, the more the level of contamination.

The THQ was originally developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency to assess the health risks of pesticides, but has since been used to look at the health risks of mercury-contaminated seafood.

Their research showed that commonly available wine had THQs in the range of 50 to 200, with Slovakian wines reaching 300. A 250 ml glass of such wine would have a THQ of between 30 and 80. The researchers did not look at wines from Britain.

According to the research published in the Chemistry Central Journal, France stood at the bottom of the list of regions with least THQs, with Austria, Spain, Germany and Portugal registering lesser levels of contamination.

Naughton and fellow-researcher Andrea Petr√≥czi are quoted by The Guardian as writing: “Relatively high levels of potentially hazardous metal ions are frequently found in both red and white wines originating from various countries. For consumption of 250 ml daily, these wines give very high THQ values and may present detrimental health concerns through a lifetime, based upon the metal content alone.”

They have suggested that levels of metal ions should be declared on wine labels to caution drinkers.

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