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Environ Monit Assess. 2013 May;185(5):3867-78. doi: 10.1007/s10661-012-2835-2. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Evaluation of possible health risks of heavy metals by consumption of foodstuffs available in the central market of Rajshahi City, Bangladesh.

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Environmental and Tracer Studies Laboratory, Department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi 6205, Bangladesh.


Considering the human health risk due to the consumption of foodstuffs, the concentrations of heavy metals (lead, manganese, chromium, cadmium, and arsenic) are investigated in vegetables, fruits, and fish species collected from the central market (called Shaheb Bazar) of Rajshahi City, Bangladesh. The foodstuffs examined for metal constituents are the basis of human nutrition in the study area. The highest concentrations of Mn and As in vegetables (onion and pointed gourd, respectively), Cr and Cd in fruits (black berry and mango, respectively), and Pb in fish (catla) are recorded. Health risks associated with these heavy metals are evaluated due to dietary intake. Target hazard quotient (THQ) and hazard index (HI) are calculated to evaluate the non-carcinogenic health risk from individual and combined heavy metals. The THQ values for individual heavy metals are below 1, suggesting that people would not experience significant health risks if they ingest a single heavy metal from one kind of foodstuff (e.g., vegetables). However, consumption of several of the foodstuffs could lead a potential health risk to human population since HI value is higher than 1. The relative contributions of vegetables, fishes, and fruits to HI are 49.44, 39.07, and 11.53 %, respectively. Also, the relative contributions of Pb, Cd, As, Mn, and Cr to HI are 51.81, 35.55, 11.73, 0.85, and 0.02 %, respectively. The estimation shows that the carcinogenic risk of arsenic exceeds the accepted risk level of 1 × 10(-6). Thus, the carcinogenic risk of arsenic for consumers is a matter of concern.

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