Study on arsenic, mercury, lead and phenanthrene concentration in surf clam (Mesodesma donacium) : Food and toxicological implications

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Datos de publicación:
Revista Chilena de Nutrición, Vol.35, N°2, 2008
Machas - Metales pesados - Contaminación
The coastal environment around the Maipo river outlet in the proximity of San Antonio bay (Vth Region, Chile) it is one of the most contaminated zone of the country due to discharges of industrial wastes on the river that affect the marine environment. The surf clam (Mesodesma donacium, Lamarck 1818) a benthic organism that provides an important source of seafood for human consumption is caught in this area. The total arsenic and mercury, lead and phenanthrene concentrations in the soft body of the surf clam were measured. The concentration of the elements in the marine organism fluctuated between 1,23-1,33 μg/g As, 0,26-0,39 μg/g Hg, and 0,23-0,33 μg/g Pb (dry basis). Phenanthrene was not detected in the samples. In spite of the high concentration of the elements detected in the surf clam, only in the case of Hg their intake could imply a certain grade of risk for human health, especially for young humans. Chronic effects, such as personality changes, neurological damage and others, could exhibit in the medium term. Therefore, it is important to carry out regular food surveillance studies, especially oriented to the specie specific aspect of toxic elements and monitoring of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in several marine food.