Med. Weter. 68 (11), 689-692, 2012

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Szkoda J., Durkalec M., Kołacz R., Opaliński S., Żmudzki J.
Content of cadmium, lead and mercury in the tissues of game animals
The objective of the present study was to assess the accumulation of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in the tissues of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and wild boar (Sus scrofa) from selected major industrial areas in Poland: the Piotrków-Bełchatow Industrial Region, the Bogatynia-Turoszów Coal Basin, the Upper Silesian Industrial Region (vicinity of the Miasteczko Śląskie Zinc Smelter) and the Legnica-Głogów Copper Basin. The Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship was selected as a reference area. Kidney, liver and muscle samples from 176 animals from all areas were collected by local hunting authorities in 2011-2012. The samples were homogenized, ashed in a muffle furnace at 450ºC and digested in nitric acid. The content of Cd and Pb was determined by GF-AAS. The Hg content was determined by the AAS method with an AMA 254 mercury analyzer. A high concentration of lead found in muscle tissues may be a residue of lead bullets used for hunting. The actual maximum level for lead in meat was exceeded in 21% of samples analyzed. A high concentration of cadmium was determined in kidneys (above the maximum level of 1 mg/kg in 88% of samples). The highest concentration of toxic elements was found in roe deer and wild boar from the Upper Silesia Region, which indicates a high contamination of the environment compared to other areas. The overall conclusion is that the concentration of toxic elements in the tissues of game animals may be a useful source of information on the quality of ecosystems in which they live.
Key words: toxic elements, game animals, biomonitoring