Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Marie Bourgeois, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Committee Member

Thomas Mason, Ph.D., M.S.

Committee Member

Russell S. Kirby, Ph.D., M.S.

Committee Member

Zachary Atlas, Ph.D., M.S.


Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, Exposure Assessment


Many infants rely on the WIC program to provide their main source of sustenance in theform of infant formula. In 2016, about 86% of the eligible infant population participated in this program. Infants in Florida account for about 30% of participation in the Southeast. For this reason, it is necessary to ensure that the formulas offered by this program provide the best opportunity for an optimal health outcome.

Exposure to heavy metals can have detrimental effects on the development of infants and children. Arsenic, lead, and cadmium specifically have been commonly found in certain types of infant formulas. Significant exposures to these types of metals may lead to impaired cognitive function, developmental delays, kidney disease, and many kinds of cancer. The purpose of this study was to estimate exposures to these metals from powder infant formulas offered by the WIC program. A wet digestion method was used to digest the samples, then concentrations were analyzed using ICP-MS. Using the determined concentrations, as well as metal concentrations from the 2018 Tampa City Municipal Water report, exposure estimates dependent on gender and age group were conducted for each formula and metal.

Overall, arsenic had the highest concentrations in these formulas, followed by lead, then cadmium. Females had higher exposure estimates than males in all situations. Exposure estimates for each metal tended to be higher during the first year of life. The soy-based formulas and formula containing rice starch tended to result in higher exposure estimates for all three metals.