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Sci Total Environ. 2016 Oct 15;568:679-684. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.02.167. Epub 2016 Mar 5.

Human exposure to metals due to consumption of fish from an artificial lake basin close to an active mining area in Katanga (D.R. Congo).

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Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, via Bologna 148, 10154 Torino, Italy. Electronic address:
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d'Aosta, via Bologna 148, 10154 Torino, Italy.
Institut Supérieur d'Etudes Agronomiques (ISEA) de Kaseya/Kongolo, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Independent Veterinarian Researcher, Turin, Italy.


The concentrations of 14 essential and nonessential trace elements were determined in fish from Lake Tshangalele, Katanga province, Democratic Republic of Congo. This province has been a place of intensive mining activities for centuries, which have increased in recent years, due to the use of metals such as copper and cobalt for the industries of fast-growing countries. Lake Tshangalele, which receives effluents from metallurgical and mining plants in Likasi, is home to several fish species that are an important part of the diet of the local population, and, therefore, it constitutes a relevant site for documenting the human exposure to metals as a result of a fish diet. The highest concentrations (median levels, dry weight) of cobalt (7.25mgkg(-1)), copper (88.1mgkg(-1)), iron (197.5mgkg(-1)), manganese (65.35mgkg(-1)), zinc (122.9mgkg(-1)) and aluminum (135.4mgkg(-1)) were found in fish collected closest to the copper mining plant, with decreasing concentrations along the lake, up to the dam. In the most contaminated fish samples, values of up to 270.1mgkg(-1) for Al, 173.1mgkg(-1) for Cu, 220.9mgkg(-1) for Zn, 211.0mgkg(-1) for Mn, 324.2mgkg(-1) for Fe, 15.1mgkg(-1) for Co, 4.2mgkg(-1) for Cr, 1.6mgkg(-1) for Cd, 1.9mgkg(-1) for Pb, and 1.8mgkg(-1) for Ni were found. Metal contamination from mining activity resulted in being of great concern because of potential health risks to the local inhabitants due to the consumption of heavily contaminated fish.


High levels of metals, especially cobalt, aluminum, iron, manganese, zinc and cadmium were found in fish from Tshangalele water system.


Congo; Fish; Lake Tshangalele; Metal pollution; Mines

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