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Abstract

The knowledge of the amounts of nitrates and nitrites consumed by the child population is of great importance due to three fundamental aspects: Reduction of nitrates to nitrites. Relation of these to methemoglobinemia. Carcinogenicity of the N-nitroso compounds, of which nitrites are the precursors. In the present article information is given as to the estimated amounts of nitrates and nitrites, which about 10000 children between one and six years of age, who attend State Nurseries in the City of Havanna, may consume through the daily intake of food, milk and water offered by the Centralized Kitchen “Cuba-Finland Friendship”.

The method of analysis used to determine nitrates and nitrites is that reported by the Mixed Committee FAO/OMS in 1976, using a reducing column containing cadmium described by FOLLET et al. in 1963. The statistical method employed is the t-Test of the comparison of media.

Estimated quantities of nitrates and nitrites, which these children may consume according to the offer of food, milk and water they receive, are: 25.6 mg of NaNO3 and 1.04 mg of NaNO2 for children one to three years of age. and 36.1 mg of NaNO3 and 1.48 mg of NaNO2 for children four to six. These values lie under those recommended as admissible daily intake reported by the Mixed Committee FAO/OMS. Therefore, there does not seem to exist a risk to health through consumption of nitrates and nitrites by the population under investigation.