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A survey analysis of heavy metals bio-accumulation in internal organs of sea shell animals affected by the sustainable pollution of antifouling paints used for ships anchored at some domestic maritime spaces

Published in China Science Bulletin, 2008
By WANG JunLian1 et al

“Some samples of sea shell animals stuck and multiplied on the bottom (beneath the seawater) coated with antifouling paints were collected at some domestic maritime spaces, and the content of heavy metals was detected through Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy.

Meanwhile, comparison with sea shell animals was made on market for edible use. It shows that the content of heavy metals in internal organs of these marine animals is very high due to the large amount of copper and zinc contained in the antifouling paints, and this also does severely harm to sea environment and ecology. To study and develop the novel antifouling paints without copper(I) oxide is an imperative task which brooks no delay.”

“In the normal human bodies, the copper content is 1.0 mg/g, while the zinc content is 33 mg/g. Our bodies also need to absorb certain amount of copper and zinc, that is, usually copper is 55 mg/d and zinc is 13 mg/d. However, according to the report by Luckey, it may beget necrotic hepatitis and hemolytic anemia when the copper content is 100150 times higher than the quantity mentioned above. The first case of copper poisoning happened to a seventeen years old woman in 1785 due to taking too much food containing copper compounds. She was bellyache, tetter, diarrhea, vomit and died before long. The toxic dose of zinc is 0.20.4 g.

Taking zinc salt of more than 80100 mg once will cause acute poisoning. Delitescence of zinc poisoning is just 7 min to 1 h. The symptoms are sick, durative vomit, bellyache, diarrhea and fever mouth to go with vertigo and discomfortable at every pore, and even prostration because of exquisite throwing up and  diarrhea. There are thousands of copper/zinc μg/g in internal organs of contaminated sea shell animals. If they are taken by accident, it stands a good chance to arose copper/zinc poisoning.

High copper and zinc content and excessive content of arsenic and cadmium in internal organs of sea shell animals might be possible to threaten the public health. It is an imperative task which brooks no delay to prevent heavy metals from entering into the sea. In order to reduce copper and zinc contamination, one of the most effective methods is to cut down the usage of antifouling paints containing copper and zinc, or to develop the novel effective, copper- and zinc-free and nontoxic antifouling paints.”

Read the full Paper here

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