Regular crabmeat consumers do not show increased urinary cadmium or beta-2-microglobulin levels compared to non-crabmeat consumers

Karlee N. Dyck, Shabina Bashir, Graham Horgan, Alan A. Sneddon* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic metal that can be relatively high in brown meat from crab and there is concern that it may accumulate in long-term crabmeat consumers posing a health risk. Sixteen healthy habitual crabmeat consumers and twenty five healthy non-crabmeat consumers were recruited through completion of a seafood frequency questionnaire. Whole blood and urine samples were analysed for Cd levels and urinary beta-2-microglobulin, an established marker of Cd-induced kidney toxicity, to determine levels in crabmeat consumers. Whole blood Cd levels were significantly elevated in the crabmeat-consuming group, whereas urinary levels of Cd and beta-2-microglobulin were not. Whole blood Cd levels can be both a short and long-term marker for Cd intake and levels might be expected to be elevated in the crabmeat consumers as crabmeat can contain Cd. However, crabmeat consumers did not show increases in a more established long-term marker of Cd (urinary Cd) and consistent with this, no change in a Cd-induced kidney toxicity marker. Consequently, in conclusion, compared to consumers who reported very little crabmeat consumption, healthy middle-aged consumers who regularly consume brown crabmeat products (an average of 447g/week) for an average of 16 years showed no change in long-term Cd exposure or kidney toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
Early online date3 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note


We acknowledge help from staff at Stromness surgery and Balfour hospital, NHS Orkney who collected and processed samples from the Orkney volunteers. We also gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the all volunteers who participated in the study.

Financial Support

This study was funded by grants from Orkney Fisherman’s Society Ltd and MacDuff Shellfish Ltd who themselves were awarded a grant from the UK Sea Fish Industry Authority’s (Seafish) Strategic Investment Programme 2015-2018. Neither Seafish, Orkney Fisherman’s Society Ltd nor MacDuff Shellfish Ltd had a role in the design, analysis, or writing of this study. The research of A.A.S. and S.B. is supported by Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS).


  • Cadmium
  • crab
  • brown crabmeat
  • beta-2-microglobulin
  • selenium


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