Sea Cucumbers and Cadmium – Is There a Risk? via Cumberland BC Cumberlander: Articles. Please follow link to see comments made.
Sea Cucumbers and Cadmium – Is There a Risk?
By Zelda Wamzutta
The question of shellfish monitoring by our governmental agencies has been in the recent news with the the highly controversial Bill C-38 and cut-backs of DFO and amendments to the Fisheries Act which would reduce fish and habitat protections.How would the newly proposed industry of Sea Cucumbers in the area of Gartley Point to Buckley Bay be monitored?Medical doctor Dr. Riddell recently spoke at Fallen Alders, Royston on the subject “Would Baynes Sound Be Safe to Eat?” His closing sentence struck me hard: “These sea cucumbers are largely exported to Asian countries and it would be a disgrace to Canada if this was not a safe product to consume.”At the present time, the Baynes Sound oyster industry is at risk with high cadmium levels in Baynes Sound. Will the sea cucumber product proposed for our area also be prone to high cadmium intake? The existing literature from “Assessment of Human Health Risks of Comsumption of Cadmium Contaminated Cultures Oysters” (Cheung, Winnie W.L. and Gobas, Frank A.P.C.; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC, 2007) on the subject of oysters and cadmium reads as follows: “…With farmed British Columbia (BC) oysters containing higher cadmium concentrations than wild oysters, long-term exposure to cadmium through consumption of oysters has the potential to cause health risks. This study reports on a risk assessment for cadmium intake resulting from the consumption of BC-cultured oyster. The study concludes that Health Canada’s current recommended BC-cultured oyster consumption rate for Canadians of 12 oysters per month exceeds the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry chronic oral minimal risk levels (MRL) of 0.2 μg·kg−1·day−1 by approximately 4- to 5-fold and reaches the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization (FAP/WHO) reference dose of 1 μg·kg−1·day−1 for cadmium consumption for Canadians. This suggests that although the current recommended maximum oyster consumption rates is consistent with the FAO/WHO and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits for acceptable risk, it leaves little or no room for error or uncertainty. This is noteworthy as recent studies demonstrate toxicological effects at cadmium intakes of 0.43 to 0.71 μgCd·kg−1·day−1. This study indicates that a lower maximum BC-cultured oyster rate should be considered, particularly for high risk groups, including women with low iron stores, people with renal impairment, smokers, children, and indigenous people who consume organ meats of games and wildlife other than shellfish.” Will our governmental agencies have the manpower and know-how to monitor this new sea cucumber industry in Baynes Sound? And will there be a risk of high cadmium content so that the sea cucumber industry planned for shores off Royston-Union Bay will produce a product unacceptable for market? Food for thought!