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Keywords:

  • Cattle;
  • Kidney;
  • Liver;
  • Metals;
  • Zambia

Abstract

Concentrations of lead, cadmium, and other metals in the liver and kidneys of cattle near a lead-zinc mine in Kabwe (Zambia), which is ranked among the 10 worst polluted places on earth, were compared with other Zambian towns. Metal concentrations were measured in the liver and kidneys of 51 cattle from Kabwe and other Zambian towns. The maximum metal concentrations, expressed in mg/kg and dry weight, in the liver or kidneys were 398.4 (Cu), 252.6 (Zn), 77.81 (Cr), 19.37 (Cd), 7.57 (Ni), 1.8 (Pb), 1.04 (Co), 0.112 (Hg), and 0.05 (As). Concentrations of Pb and Cd in Kabwe cattle were higher than levels in other Zambian towns. The mean concentration of Cd exceeded benchmark values in offal destined for human consumption. Levels of Ni and Cr may also pose public health concerns. Concentrations of Pb and Cr, Pb and Cu, Cd and Zn, Cd and Hg, Zn and Cu, Cu and Co, as well as Co and Ni were positively correlated. The present study also highlighted the dangers of exposure of animals and humans to a mixture of toxic metals. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2011; 30:1892–1897. © 2011 SETAC