Contact: Biological Sciences Annex, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin
In Nigerian cities, some of the fastest forms of food consumed daily by humans are canned foods. These foods might be beverages, corned beef, peas, mushrooms, chicken and corn prepared in their natural states and preserved in chemicals, engrossed and embossed with lead materials, so that their shelf life will be long lasting. Lead (Pb) is a well-known pervasive and carcinogenic metal, one of the first metals discovered by man (Flora et al., 2012; Rahman et al., 2012). It is commonly found in air, water, soil and food (Raikwar et al., 2008). Lead is considered as a serious industrial poison, and its toxicological signs are well acknowledged (Hezbullah et al., 2016). The toxicity of lead is commonly graded as the greatest health risk (Goyer, 1994). Canned foods are generally exposed to lead impurity during the process of canning. Solder used in the production of cans has been known as a basis of lead pollution (MAFF, 1995). Several health problems have been associated with lead poisoning such as damages of the haematobiotic system (the blood), the nervous system and the kidneys thus meddling with their roles (Brody et al., 1994). These can result to antagonistic overactive behaviour and psychological delay such seizures and cerebral palsy (Codex, 2001). Chronic lead toxicity has also been associated with low learning capacity in children. Lead poisoning can have severe toxic effect on humans resulting in permanent brain damage, kidney disease, nephropathy, seizure, coma and even death in some cases. Medecins Sans Frontieres reported an estimated death of 400 children due to lead poisoning from artisanal mining activities in Zamfara State, Northern Nigeria in 2010 (MSF 2010). This study investigated the potential carcinogenic risks associated with lead (Pb) in some commonly consumed canned foods.
Keywords: Lead, Metal, Carcinogenic Risk, Canned Foods, Poisoning