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Added On August 3, 2016

 SYNDEY, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- An Australian research has found that consumers of Chinese alternative medication derived from Aussie marine life may be consuming toxins due to high level of pollution found in its seawaters.

 
The University of Queensland School of Biomedical Sciences lead researcher Dr Kathy Townsend said the study found that devil and manta rays contain high amounts of heavy metals such as mercury and lead.
 
"Devil and manta rays are some of the world's most biologically vulnerable fishes, and their dried gill plates have become a valued commodity in alternative medicine markets," Townsend said.
 
"Vendors recommend gill plates for ailments ranging from acne to cancer, and as a general health tonic, even though it is a new addition to traditional medicine literature and rarely prescribed."
 
Townsend said Chinese, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Sri Lankan and Indian waters were most reported as gill plate sources, but larger rays from Australian waters were regarded as a high-end product.
 
"It could be linked to the large-scale mining activities in Queensland, inland from the Great Barrier Reef," Townsend said.
 
"Australia is one of the world's largest producers of lead and lead mining has been identified as a major cause for concern for environmental contamination."
 
"Other marine organisms in the Great Barrier Reef have been found to be similarly affected by high lead levels, including in the adjacent Townsville harbor."
 
However, she said recent Chinese government policies have resulted in a decline in the trade of gills in mainland China as the manta rays have been listed as an endangered species.