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Cadmium in Shellfish - Essay Example

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Shellfish - mussels and scallops - were collected from Adelaide Central market and subjected to digestion experiments with nitric and hydrochloric acids to sample cadmium content in them after subjection to an atomic absorption spectrometer. The means (g/g shellfish tissue) for scallops were 0.457 while that for mussels were 0.164…
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Cadmium in Shellfish
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Download file to see previous pages The figures for both types of shellfish was well within the tolerable limits at 7 g/kg body weight for adults as per WHO and Australian guidelines. Nevertheless, since there was observed high standard deviation among the scallop samples and there was also high deviation between the scallop and mussel cadmium/body-weight ratios it has been suggested that a future experiment be conducted during which the origin of the two types of shellfish be ascertained first to ensure that water contamination levels for both types of shellfish are the same. This shall ensure better conformation among the results. Correlation analysis was not conducted because of the small number of samples. This too should be rectified in future experiments to ascertain how each type of shellfish responds to the same level of cadmium contamination in the water. Thus, the report finds that it is highly essential to ascertain contamination in particular harvesting areas so that only those areas from where the bivalves have tolerable metal contents can be allowed harvestable. Other non-conforming areas should be declared out-of-limits. Only this can assure safety in supply.
Cadmium is a heavy metal that is commonly found in many types of soil and rocks. At birth, primates like humans have no cadmium in their bodies but, with age, some humans induct the metal from their environment. The metal is a contaminant and classified as possibly carcinogenic under World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines (CHEC, Cadmium, 2007). The metal is variously used in industrial applications and commonly found in everyday use objects like paints, plastics, some types of coatings, batteries and other electrical components (CHEC, Cadmium, 2007). The metal is also let out into the atmosphere from burning fuels, especially fossil fuels. It is present in rubber tires and is emitted when tires burn. Also, many industries let out the metal into the atmosphere trough flue gases (CHEC, Cadmium, 2007). Another significant source of cadmium contamination is tobacco smoke. Children are especially susceptible to the metal if they are near smokers (CHEC, Cadmium, 2007). Children also are more prone to cadmium contamination because ration of the metal intake by body weight is much higher than in adults with larger body weight. Thus, more care has to be taken to preclude such contamination in children. Also, it is estimated that cadmium build-up in the body is faster in the early years than later if the individual is subjected to such contamination (WHO, Cadmium, Series 24, 1972).
In this particular context it is noted that shellfish like mussels and scallops are bottom-dwellers and are non-mobile filter feeders (Moffett, 1993). In all likelihood, if the metal becomes evident in seawater, it settles down towards the bottom and the shellfish induct it into their systems. Since there is evidence that the metal is not easily evicted from organic tissues. Over time the metal may accrue in shellfish tissue and if these are ingested by humans poisoning may result if the metal levels in the tissue are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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