Acetaldehyde level in spirits from Central European countries

Paolo Boffetta, Pertti Kaihovaara, Peter Rudnai, Ariana Znaor, Jolanta Lissowska, Beata Swiatkowska, Dana Mates, Tamas Pandics, Mikko Salaspuro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


Intake of acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages, in Central Europe, might explain the high rate of alcohol-related diseases in these countries. We measured the acetaldehyde level in 30 samples of home-made spirits and 12 samples of industry-made spirits from four Central European countries, including 35 fruit-based and five grain-based spirits. Acetaldehyde was detected in all fruit-based spirits and in none of the grain-based spirits. Acetaldehyde levels were above 2000 μmol/l in 12 samples, 11 of which were home-made. In a multivariate analysis restricted to fruit-based spirits, however, the difference between home-made and industry-based spirits was not statistically significant. These results add evidence to the hypothesis that intake of acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages, in Central Europe, contributes to the burden of alcohol-related disease, especially that of upper digestive tract cancers. The acetaldehyde level should be monitored and high-level exposure should be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-529
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer Prevention
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2011


  • acetaldehyde
  • alcoholic beverages
  • head and neck cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Cancer Research

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  • Cite this

    Boffetta, P., Kaihovaara, P., Rudnai, P., Znaor, A., Lissowska, J., Swiatkowska, B., Mates, D., Pandics, T., & Salaspuro, M. (2011). Acetaldehyde level in spirits from Central European countries. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 20(6), 526-529.