Heavy metal concentrations in edible bivalves and gastropods available in major markets of the Pearl River Delta

Z. Q. Fang*, R. Y.H. Cheung, Ming Hung WONG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Molluscs are able to accumulate heavy metals and impose health hazard to consumers. The main objective of the present study is to investigate the heavy metal concentrations in edible bivalves and gastropods available in major markets of the Pearl River Delta. Fourteen species of edible molluscs were purchased from six markets in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. The fresh of these biota were tested for their cadmium (Cd), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), antimony (Sb) and tin (Sn) concentrations (based on wet weight). The results indicated that amongst the 14 edible molluscs, only Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Sb and Sn concentrations in three species (Ruditapes philippinarum, Perna viridis and Hemifusus tuba) were within the local regulatory limits. Over 60% of bivalve species exceeded maximum permitted levels of Cd (2 μg/g) and Cr (1 μg/g), while over 40% of gastropod species exceeded the maximum levels of Sb (1 μg/g) and Cr (1 μg/g). Most of the samples collected from Hong Kong had significantly higher contents of Pb and Sb, but similar levels of Cd, Cu and Zn when compared with samples collected across the border (p<0.05; p<0.01; p< 0.001 respectively). In general, the molluscs purchased in Guangdong markets had higher metal contents than those purchased from the Hong Kong markets. When compared with the Provisional Tolerable Weekly Intake or Maximum Acceptable Daily Load recommended by FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, Cd levels of five species (Anadara ferruginea, Pinna pectinata, Chlamys nobilis, Babylonia lutosa and Hemifusus terntanus) and Cr levels of seven species (Anadara ferruginea, Paphia undulata, Pinna pectinata, Babylonia lutosa, Hemifusus terntanus, Cymbium melo and Cipangopaludina chinensis) were higher than both the human daily acceptable limits (for Cd and Cr respectively) and the local regulatory levels (for Cd and Cr respectively).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Sciences
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Edible molluscs
  • Heavy metals
  • Human health
  • Pearl River Delta

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