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Lecture 18

HNSC 1200 Lecture 18: Unit 3.6

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University of Manitoba
Human Nutritional Sciences
HNSC 1200
Snehil Dua

Environmental Contaminants/Pollutants Learning Objectives: Identify environmental contaminants and discuss their impact Course Notes: Environmental contaminants /pollutants include industrial pollutants, toxic metals and contaminants from packaging. Routine monitoring of chemical contaminants is carried out and a ban is imposed if levels are too high How harmful a contaminant is depends on how long it persists in the environment or in the human body Some contaminants do not breakdown and are difficult for our body to metabolize or excrete These contaminants are concerning because they can build up and accumulate at higher and higher concentrations along the food chain SEE FIGURE 12.7: Bioaccumulation of Toxins in the Food Chain and TABLE 12.2: Examples of Contaminants in Foods Heavy metals o Lead: displaces minerals, causing function failure of kidneys, liver, nervous system, bone marrow o Mercury Cadmium: causes slow developing, irreversible damage to the liver and kidneys o Selenium Arsenic: used as a medication for animals. Can also be found in lower quantities in fish, eggs, milk rice and drinking water Mercury: A naturally occurring element in rocks, lakes, streams and oceans Pulp and paper processing mining operations, and burning of garbage and fossil fuels can also release mercury into the environment High amounts of mercury can damage the nervous system of people and animals cSD Mercury tends to accumulate in the food chain so that predatory species have higher levels. This is called bioaccumulation Fish that are more heavily contaminated tend to be larger fish that prey on smaller fish – the mercury builds up in their system Fish heavily contaminated with mercury: o Shark o Swordfish o King mackerel o Fresh tuna steak (Albacore) Tilefish Fish/seafood lower in mercury: Shrimp Canned light tuna (canned albacore – “white” – tuna contains more mercury than light tuna) o Salmon o Pollock Catfish The CFIA regulatory tests domestic and imported commercial fish and shellfish, both freshwater and marine, in order to enforce the mercury guideline of 0.5-1.0 parts per million (ppm) for total mercury in domestically produced and imported fish The recommendation is to consume a variety of fish, as this minimizes your exposure to any particular toxin that may accumulate in a particular fish sp
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