Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

The concentration, source and potential human health risk of heavy metals in the commonly consumed foods in Bangladesh.

PMID 26406870


Seven food items, namely, meat, egg, fish, milk, vegetables, cereals and fruits were collected from Bogra district, Bangladesh to evaluate the levels of heavy metal and associated health risk to the adults and children. The samples were analyzed for the quantification of selected heavy metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, As, Cd and Pb) on inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer followed by acid digestion. In general, the highest concentrations of the studied metals were detected in vegetables, cereals, and fruits. The range of Cr, Ni, Cu, As, Cd, and Pb in the foods were 0.058-10, 0.036-25, 0.045-40, 0.005-7.1, 0.001-5.5 and 0.005-13 mg/kg fw, respectively. Multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) revealed three major groups of the studied metals and showed significant anthropogenic contributions of the Ni, Cu, and As in foods. Health risk assessment was evaluated in terms of target hazard quotient and target carcinogenic risk (TR) which showed that the intake of some metals through foods were higher than the recommended values, consequently consumption of the foods may be associated with non-carcinogenic health risks. Nonetheless, elevated levels of As and Pb were also found to be associated with lifetime carcinogenic risk to the consumers.