Determination of Baseline Data on Cadmium Levels for Selected Food Products from Volcanic Areas in East New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea

  • Kundo Hundang Department of Applied Sciences, PNG University of Technology, Private Mail Bag, Lae 411, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
  • Janarthanan Gopalakrishnan Department of Applied Sciences, PNG University of Technology, Private Mail Bag, Lae 411, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea
  • Aisak Pue The Papua New Guinea University of Natural Resources & Environment, Private Mail Bag, Kokopo, East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea
Keywords: cadmium, diabetes, volcano, Mt Tavurvur, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.


Food, agricultural crops and seafood from the Gazelle Peninsula of East New Britain Province (ENBP) of Papua New Guinea (PNG) were investigated for levels of heavy metal Cadmium, which is known to be widely distributed in the environment exposed to dust and gases emitted by active volcanoes[1]. The aim of this study was to establish the background concentrations in important staple foods both of plant and marine origin that are common in diets to the people of Gazelle Peninsula and to compare them against the tolerable intake levels. Food samples collected from selected sites within the 30 km radial zones from the epicenter of the Mount Tavurvur volcano were digested with aqua regia and prepared for total Cd concentration determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). The Cd concentrations expressed as mg/kg dry matter basis in (a) food (vegetables and nut) were between 0.066 to 1.2 mg/kg (b) marine organisms were between 0.58 to 1.41 mg/kg; and (c) tobacco was between 1.97 to 3.4 mg/kg. The high level of Cd in foods is a contributing factor to high prevalence of diabetes in the East New Britain Province.The medical literature of Papua New Guinea (PNG) studies also revealed that type 2 mellitus diabetes is an increasing problem in PNG. Statistics from Port Moresby General Hospital showed that coastal Papua New Guinea share the same vulnerability with other Pacific Island countries such as Nauru and Solomon Islands and the Wanigela and Tolai ethnic groups in PNG.


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