Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sagamu, Nigeria
Heavy metals are known to disrupt important physiological processes in living cells, and have been responsible for various pathological conditions with possible contributions to cancer development. Food contamination have been identified as one of the ways humans are exposed to heavy metals. In developing countries like Nigeria, the regulatory framework for enforcing compliance with globally acceptable exposure to deleterious contaminants is poor. In the current study, thirteen samples of cured meat products of diverse origin marketed in South-west Nigeria were evaluated for lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel contents using the atomic absorption spectroscopy technique. All the samples analysed contained cadmium between 0.35 and 1.20 ppm, levels considered higher than acceptable limits in consumable products. Lead, chromium and nickel were not detected in any of the samples. As known cumulative poisons, there is the need for stringent regulatory control of these heavy metals in cured meat products imported into or produced indigenously in the country in order to minimize the risks to public health.