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Determination of toxic elements (mercury, cadmium, lead, tin and arsenic) in fish and shellfish samples. Risk assessment for the consumers.

Environment international (2013-06-25)
P Olmedo, A Pla, A F Hernández, F Barbier, L Ayouni, F Gil
ABSTRACT

Although fish intake has potential health benefits, the presence of metal contamination in seafood has raised public health concerns. In this study, levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, tin and arsenic have been determined in fresh, canned and frozen fish and shellfish products and compared with the maximum levels currently in force. In a further step, potential human health risks for the consumers were assessed. A total of 485 samples of the 43 most frequently consumed fish and shellfish species in Andalusia (Southern Spain) were analyzed for their toxic elements content. High mercury concentrations were found in some predatory species (blue shark, cat shark, swordfish and tuna), although they were below the regulatory maximum levels. In the case of cadmium, bivalve mollusks such as canned clams and mussels presented higher concentrations than fish, but almost none of the samples analyzed exceeded the maximum levels. Lead concentrations were almost negligible with the exception of frozen common sole, which showed median levels above the legal limit. Tin levels in canned products were far below the maximum regulatory limit, indicating that no significant tin was transferred from the can. Arsenic concentrations were higher in crustaceans such as fresh and frozen shrimps. The risk assessment performed indicated that fish and shellfish products were safe for the average consumer, although a potential risk cannot be dismissed for regular or excessive consumers of particular fish species, such as tuna, swordfish, blue shark and cat shark (for mercury) and common sole (for lead).

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, ≥99%, powder
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, powder, <150 μm, 99.5% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, nanopowder, <150 nm particle size (SEM), ≥99% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, powder, -100 mesh, 99.99% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, granular, 0.425-2.0 mm particle size, ≥99.5%, ACS reagent
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, shot, 99.999% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, foil, thickness 0.5 mm, 99.998% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, powder, <45 μm particle size, 99.8% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, powder, 10 μm, 99% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, wire, diam. 0.5 mm, 99.999% trace metals basis
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, foil, thickness 0.127 mm, 99.9%
Sigma-Aldrich
Tin, 99.8%, shot, 3 mm
Supelco
Tin (impurities), manufactured by MBH Analytical Ltd (71X SR0)