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Pattern of cadmium contamination in the liver and kidneys of moose and white-tailed deer in Québec

The Science of The Total Environment
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DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(87)90076-3


Abstract Samples of moose ( N = 431) and white-tailed deer ( N = 225) liver and kidneys were collected during the 1985 hunting season from 14 zones south of the 50° latitude in Québec. Regional differences in cadmium level in the liver were detected and three homogeneous areas were delineated for each species. Uptake was greater for moose than for deer: in the liver, mean concentrations were 2.9–15.9 mg kg −1 (dry weight) for moose and 0.8–2.6 for deer, depending on the area and sex; in kidneys, means ranged between 31.8–100.5 and 20.9–39.0 mg kg −1, respectively. Female moose had lower levels than bulls. Less affected moose, in eastern Quebec, contained cadmium concentrations comparable to the highest values measured in Scandinavia. Cadmium uptake in deer was on the same level or higher than in the United States. Our results indicate a widespread presence of this heavy metal in the environment that may be linked to acid precipitation. We do not recommend consuming wild cervid liver or kidneys in Quebec for the moment. Further research is needed on the overall mechanisms involved in the cadmium contamination of the environment and on the actual intake of this metal in the human diet.

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