Lobster Contaminants


Screening the Levels of Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic, Chromium, Zinc, Mercury, and Thallium in the Traditional Food-Lobster of Eel River Bar First Nation


The purpose of this project was to examine the concentrations of heavy metal contaminants: cadmium, lead, arsenic, and mercury as well as chromium, thallium and zinc within the lobster traditionally consumed by the Mi’gmaq of Eel River Bar, New Brunswick.

A total of 44 lobsters we tested, where 22 were cooked and 22 were raw. Due to high laboratory analysis costs, a decision was made to test both lobster meat and tomalley together for each lobster.

The mean concentrations for all 44 lobsters were found to be lower than the maximum allowed levels according to International standards for arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. However, when observing the levels of heavy metals in individual lobsters, five (5) lobster had levels of cadmium that were in excess of its respecting International standard of 0.5 mg/kg set by the Commission of the European Communities. There were no International standards identified for chromium, thallium and zinc in lobster. There was no observed correlation on the concentrations of heavy metals between raw and cooked lobster.

Project Details

  • Year: 2011-2012
  • Status: Complete
  • Project Funding Source: Health Canada – RFNCP