Determination of heavy metals concentration in raw sheep milk from mercury polluted area
Keywords:former mercury mining area, health hazard, heavy metal, raw sheep milk, Slovakia
The paper focuses on determining the content of monitored contaminants (Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb and Zn) in 53 samples of raw sheep milk collected in 2013 and 2014 on the sites Poráč and Matejovce nad Hornádom (middle Spiš). The area is characterized by historical mining and metalworking activity (mining and processing of polymetallic ores rich in Hg, Cd and Pb). Currently, the area is one of the most mercury contaminated areas in Central Europe. All statistical analyses were carried out using the statistical software Statistica 10.0 (Statsoft, USA). Descriptive data analysis included minimum value, maximum value, arithmetic mean and standard deviation. The results of the studied contaminant content show that the limit value for cadmium (10 μg.kg-1) was exceeded in 25 samples. In the case of lead, the limit value of 20 μg.kg-1 was exceeded in 16 cases. The limit value for copper (0.4 mg.kg-1) was exceeded in one case. The limit value for zinc is not defined by a legislative standard. The risk level of the studied contaminants in the samples of raw sheep milk decreases as follows: Cd > Pb > Hg > Cu > Zn. It can be concluded that frequent and long-term consumption of the raw sheep milk originating from the studied sites poses a health risk. The content of the contaminants in the milk and their eventual transition into dairy products should be monitored over a longer term in more detail.
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