Nacella species and Mytilus species constitute a popular food in the Beagle Channel zone as both of them are well distributed in the area. With the aim to infer the daily intake of heavy metals through the consumption of these gastropod molluscs in the diet, more than one hundred individuals of Nacella (P) magellanica were sampled, separated in viscera and muscle, and then examined with respect to the accumulation of different transition metals. Collection was performed in seven strategic locations along 170 km of the coastal area of the Beagle Channel (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) in two campaigns during 2005 and 2007. In this study, the intake of the trace metals Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn by molluscs was calculated and evaluated in terms of the potential risks to human health derived from their consumption. Particularly, cadmium and lead presented more interest as they are non–essential and very well known toxic metals. Generally, the integrated evaluation of the results evidence that risks for humans seem unlikely for the regular consumption in the area. Further discussion will be provided on this issue.
Keywords: limpets, trace metal intake, Beagle Channel, Patagonia, trace metals, Argentina, heavy metals, gastropod molluscs, Nacella (P) magellanica, health risks, cadmium, lead