Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Biological and Physical Sciences

Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Brian K. Niece


Cadmium (Cd) is a transition metal that offers no nutritional value to human beings. Humans’ main exposure to Cd is through consumption. Cd is extremely soluble, leading to plants readily absorbing it through contaminated water. Plants containing the absorbed Cd are consumed, and the metal accumulates in the body and is toxic. Effects of Cd in the body include renal tubular damage, pulmonary emphysema, epigenetic changes, and carcinogenesis. Previous studies have looked at Cd in cereal based products, and their results revealed low, varied amounts of Cd in the samples. However, most of these studies were performed in Asian countries. This leaves a gap in data for foods in the United States. This study looks at three different rice cereal brands from grocery stores in the Worcester, MA area. In a 2 g sample, the results ranged from 0.04 ± 0.03 μg in Rice Chex (General Mills), 0.06 ± 0.04 μg in Signature Select’s Rice Pockets (Shaws), and 0.09 ± 0.06 μg in Food Club’s Rice Squares (Big Y). These results were all above the LOD of 0.015 μg. The amounts of Cd found were comparable with the amounts found in previous literature. Since the levels of Cd were below the TWI of 2.5 μg/kg body weight, it can be concluded that the amount of Cd in these brands do not pose a health risk.