High arsenic and low lead concentrations in fish and reptiles from Taim wetlands, a Ramsar site in southern Brazil
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The pollution caused by heavy metals and metalloids represent an emerging threat to wetlands worldwide. Herein we examined the concentrations of arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in fish and aquatic/semi-aquatic reptiles from Taim wetlands, a Ramsar site located at the southernmost Brazilian coastal plain. A total of 82 individuals from six fish and three reptile species from varied trophic levels were analysed through furnace graphite atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Mean As concentrations (μg·g-1 dry weight) were markedly high, ranging from 13.06 ± 3.18 to 19.4 ± 4.04 in fish and 3.51 ± 2.36 to 19.00 ± 10.45 in reptiles. Mean Pb concentrations were low, ranging from 0.00067 ± 0.00060 to 0.0040 ± 0.00045 in fishes and 0.00103 ± 0.0011 to 0.0271 ± 0.0353 in reptiles. The highest As mean level was detected in the herbivore-insectivore fish Astyanax aff. fasciatus, a species of low trophic level among the analysed taxa. The highest Pb mean level was found in the broad-snouted caiman Caiman latirostris, the highest trophic level species analysed. The present study warns for the contamination of As especially in edible fish, which constitute a threat to the communities that use this resource in systems connected to Taim wetlands. As concentrations in reptiles were also higher than those reported in previous studies concerning the groups herein addressed. It is possible that the high As burdens found in the analysed species could be attributed to the use of fertilizers and pesticides in extensive irrigated rice areas located in Taim wetlands surroundings, but natural sources cannot be dismissed.
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