Selenium is an essential trace element for life, which can be toxic for humans when intakes reach a certain amount. Therefore, since the margin between healthy intake and toxic intake is narrow, the selenium concentration of tap water is a parameter that must be monitored because of its potential for increased intake. The present work gives an overview of the different approaches used to calculate safe limits for selenium. As recommended by WHO, the guidelines for drinking water form the basis of national legislated standards for drinking water. Before setting a maximum acceptable level in drinking water, it is necessary to take into account the total intake of selenium in both food and beverage. The limit value of 10 μg l−1 for drinking water laid down in the European regulations for all countries should be adapted depending on geographic area, as previously recommended by WHO.

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