This study aimed to estimate the dietary risk of nitrates and nitrites in vegetables based on internal dose in a probabilistic manner by integrating exogenous exposure based on measured concentrations in vegetables with endogenous exposure using a toxicokinetic (TK) model. We optimized and validated a previous TK model and incorporated Monte Carlo simulations to account for variability across different age populations for predicting internal dose. High levels of nitrates were detected in leafy vegetables (from 545 ± 274 to 1641 ± 873 mg/kg). Nitrite contents of vegetables were generally low (from 1.26 ± 1.40 to 8.20 ± 14.1 mg/kg). The dietary risk was found to be different based on internal versus external dose, suggesting that it is critical to include endogenous nitrite formation into risk assessment. Nitrate and nitrite exposure from vegetables is unlikely to result in appreciable risks for most populations but may be a potential risk for preschoolers.
- risk assessment
- toxicokinetic modeling