Cadmium, Lead and Zinc in the Soil-Plant-Alpaca System and Potential Health Risk Assessment Associated with the Intake of Alpaca Meat in Huancavelica, Peru
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Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y del Ambiente, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Facultad de Medicina Humana, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Universidad Continental, Av. San Carlos 1980, Huancayo, Perú
Facultad de Enfermería, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Facultad de Ciencias Aplicadas, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Edith Pilar Orellana   

Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y del Ambiente, Universidad Nacional del Centro del Perú
Publication date: 2021-03-01
J. Ecol. Eng. 2021; 22(3):40–52
The consumption of contaminated natural pastures with highly dangerous and toxic heavy metals such as cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) by Andean camelids could cause harmful effects on the health of people exposed via consumption of contaminated alpaca meat. The concentration of Cd, Pb and Zn in the soil-plant-alpaca system was determined and the potential health risk associated with the intake of alpaca meat was evaluated. Soil and grass samples were collected in grazing areas of the South American camelid, and in the Municipal Slaughterhouse of Huancavelica, 30 samples of alpaca pectoral muscle were collected. The concentrations of Cd in the soil, grass and alpaca muscle exceeded the threshold values of national and international standards. Bioaccumulation factor (BAF) values of the three elements studied was less than 1, Cd was the element with the highest bioavailability and mobility in the soil-plant-alpaca muscle system. The mean concentration of Cd in muscle was 0.335 ± 0.088 mg/kg which exceeded the maximum level allowed by the FAO/WHO and the European Commission, the concentration of Pb and Zn did not exceed the regulated limits. No significant differences were detected in accumulation according to sex. The non-carcinogenic hazard index (HI) values for the studied metals indicated that there is no adverse health risk (HI <1) for children and adults from alpaca meat intake, but they could experience carcinogenic risk (CR) from prolonged exposure to Cd, and for exceeding the 1x10-4 limit threshold. It is recommended to conduct further studies on the accumulation of potentially toxic elements in alpaca tissues in order to determine the possible total risk of heavy metals in consumer’s health.