An evaluation of heavy metals in the edible muscle tissues of two commercial fish species (Oreochromis niloticus and Hoplosternum littorale) and human health risk assessments

Author(s): Grayson Orvile Halley, Surendra Winjajellum, Rajeshkumar Sivakumar


This study provided new information on the concentration of heavy metals in two edible commercial fish species harvested from freshwater bodies along Guyana’s coastal regions and compared them with internationally accepted standards for heavy metals in fish destined for human consumption. Empirical data from the present study showed that the levels of Lead (Pb) in local commercial fish species (Oreochromis niloticus and Hoplosternum littorale) soled at Guyana’s municipal markets are above the maximum standards recommend for human consumption. Furthermore, in both geographical regions (region 5 and region 6) and in both tested fish species (Oreochromis niloticus and Hoplosternum littorale) Pb have been found to be approximately 103 - 152 times above the maximum limit recommended for fish destined for human consumption. Additionally, the present study also proved that fish soled at Guyana’s municipal markets contain high levels of Cadmium (Cd) and Manganese (Mn). While at the same time, it assessed the health risks of heavy metals toxicity to human beings. It is very important to identify the relationship between the presence of these heavy metals (Pb and Cd) in foods and the prevalence of certain disease conditions within the Guyanese population. Since the symptomatology resulting from many of the disorders caused by these metals are similar to other illnesses commonly diagnosed in our hospitals. Especially, common behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity), memory and concentration problems commonly observed in children, high blood pressure, hearing problems, headaches, slowed growth, reproductive problems in men and women, digestive problems, urinary problems, cancers, muscle and joint pain. The findings from the present study can be useful to guide planning of public health activities, future policies and stimulate further research into this life-threatening phenomenon known as heavy metal toxicity. Furthermore, the Guyanese environmental regulations do not have standards regulating maximum levels for heavy metals in aquatic products and waters, while high levels of metals have been continuously reported. Moreover, urgent nationwide heavy metal testing and monitoring of fish, human beings and waterbodies needs to be implemented and reviewed regularly. With the view of obtaining base data on metal impacts and establishment of needed regulations for heavy metal pollutants.

image 10.21746/ijbio.2018.7.2.3

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