In this study, tissues of five fish species prevalent in the Houjing River were analyzed for heavy metal concentrations. Results show concentrations of such metals to be much higher than internationally recommended standard limits (as determined by the WHO and FAO) and other similar studies. Heavy metal contamination of fish in the Houjing River is hence significant. High hazard and carcinogenic risk related to the Houjing River’s fish was proven based on target hazard quotient (THQ) and target cancer risk (TR) estimations. In fact, four of the five species studied present THQ levels higher than 1, and seven TRs of zinc (Zn) and arsenic (As) are higher than 10−4. Despite lower estimated daily intake (EDI) of fish in the area (per recommended daily allowance guidelines), possible heavy metal bioaccumulations in fish stock pose a high health risk for human consumption. From our analyses, the highest bioaccumulation factor (BAF) estimated above 1000 was of Zn. Among the fish species studied, Oreochromis niloticus possesses the ability to accumulate copper (Cu) and Zn dramatically. Pearson’s correlation matrix showed a positive correlation between Cu and As, attributed to multiple industrial activities along the river. Hierarchical cluster analysis of results based on sampling stations exhibits three clusters and may be linked to the type of industrial activities specific to that area. More intensive study is needed in order to further determine the toxic metals in fish. Reporting of contaminant levels must be compared with optimal health criteria guidelines. Our study, while showing the severity of heavy metal contamination in fish stock, calls for urgent, sustained, and targeted actions by both governmental authorities and the local scientific community—to help prevent and mitigate the situation and ensure the physical well-being of local inhabitants.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 4, 2017
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