Year

2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours)

ANZSRC / FoR Code

050206 Environmental Monitoring

Department

School of Earth & Environmental Science

Advisor(s)

John Morrison

Abstract

Contamination of seafood with elevated concentrations in trace metals has raised concerns for communities reliant on these resources for food. To assess the potential health risks to human consumers, seafood samples from Lake Illawarra, NSW, were analysed for the current concentrations in arsenic, cadmium, calcium, copper, iron, lead, mercury and zinc within Saccostrea commercialis (Sydney Rock Oyster) Metapenaeus macleayi (School Prawns), Girella tricuspidata (Luderick) and Platycephalus fuscus (Dusky Flathead). The oysters and prawns were sampled at two sites in Lake Illawarra, at the entrance channel and Lake Heights. A total of 24 oysters, 22 prawns, and 6 Luderick and Flathead samples were analysed at the National Measurement Institute. Copper concentrations were found to exceed recommended health standards in some samples from S. commercialis taken from the entrance. Contemporary concentrations for oyster and fish compared with past studies showed similar concentration levels, while prawn concentrations reflected similar ranges to estuaries from St Gulf and Three Mile Creek, South Australia; and were lower than concentrations reported in Mexico, India and China. This study demonstrated that concentrations for arsenic, cadmium, calcium, lead, mercury and zinc do not pose health risks.

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