China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Friday, February 17, 2006

China finds dangerous heavy metals in fish

Thu Feb 16, 12:09 PM ET

Dangerous levels of heavy metals have been found in a significant proportion of seafood in one of China's major fish-producing areas, prompting officials to warn of the potential harmful impact on human health, media reports said.

In a further sign of China's environmental woes, an investigation of four major freshwater lakes and offshore areas of eastern Jiangsu province showed cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium and zinc were present in 41 percent of all fish, China Daily reported.

The investigation by a local environment monitoring centre found seashells, shellfish and large fish were the most severely contaminated.

"Cadmium will cause kidney problems and mercury can cause mental disorders," said Xia Yu, director of the fishery department with Jiangsu Oceanic and Fishery Administration.

Disposed chemical products and poisonous industrial discharges were the main sources of the pollution, Xia said.

Local residents, who have traditionally relied on seafood for a large part of their diet, expressed concern.

"With such a proportion of heavy metal pollution, we really doubt now what it is suitable to eat," said Wang Linlin, a woman from Nanjing, Jiangsu's capital city.

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