October 29, 2008

Study: Table Wine May Contain Metal Hazard

British scientists say they've discovered potentially hazardous levels of metal ions in many commercially available wines from several countries.

Researchers from Kingston University in London said they found only wines from Argentina, Brazil and Italy did not pose a potential health risk because of the metals.

Professor Declan Naughton and Andrea Petroczi said they analyzed wines from 16 nations using a formula developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for estimating potential health risks associated with long-term exposure to environmental pollutants.

That Target Hazard Quotient provides an indication of risk based on published upper safe limits for various chemicals. Naughton said a THQ below 1.0 is considered to be non-hazardous.

The researchers said they found most wines had typical potential maximum THQ values ranging from 50 to 200, with Hungarian and Slovakian wines reaching 300.

"Excess intake of metal ions is credited with pathological events such as Parkinson's disease," said Naughton. "In addition to neurological problems, these ions are also believed to enhance oxidative damage, a key component of chronic inflammatory disease which is a suggested initiator of cancer".

The study is published in the Chemistry Central Journal.