Potential human health risk assessment of heavy metals in the flesh of mallard and pochard in the South Eastern Caspian Sea region of Iran

Document Type : Brief Communication


1 Department of Environmental Science, School of Natural Resources, Birjand University, Birjand, Iran

2 Department of Environment, Provincial Directorate of Environment Protection, Gorgan, Iran

3 Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, USA

4 Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Resources and Marine Science, Tarbiat Modares University, Noor, Iran


Every year, migratory waterfowl are hunted and consumed by people in Golestan Province of Iran. Due to the heavy metal contamination of wintering habitats, an estimation of the human health risks associated with the consumption of these ducks is necessary. Therefore, this study was conducted to estimate the health risks of exposure to cadmium (Cd), total chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) due to the consumption of pectoral muscle of mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and pochard (Aythya ferina) harvested and hunted in the South-Eastern Caspian Sea region of Iran. The mean values of these metals in the pectoral muscle of mallards and pochards were used to calculate estimated daily intake (EDI), estimated weekly intake (EWI), and target hazard quotients (THQ). The EDI (µg/day/70 kg body weight) for Cd, Cr, Fe, Pb, and Zn in mallard were 0.2, 0.04, 58, 1.1, and 12.8, respectively. The EDI (µg/day/70 kg body weight) for Cd, Cr, Fe, Pb, and Zn in pochard were 0.8, 0.1, 69, 0.8, and 13.4, respectively. The estimated total THQ (higher than 1) indicated that heavy metal levels in pochard flesh were unsafe for consumption. The EDI and EWI of the metals examined were below those recommended by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and oral doses suggested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). There appears to be little risk of exposure to metals associated with the consumption of mallard and pochard in this region.


F?rstner U, Wittmann GT. Metal Pollution in the Aquatic Environment. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag; 1981. p. 486.
Eisler R. Trace metal concentrations in marine organisms. London, UK: Pergamon Press; 1981.
Evans PR, Moon SJ. Heavy metals in shorebirds and their prey in Northeast England. In: Say PJ, Whitton BA, Editors. Heavy Metals in Northern England: Environmental and Biological Aspects. Durham, UK: Department of Botany, University of Durham; 1981.
Matta J, Milad M, Manger R, Tosteson T. Heavy metals, lipid peroxidation, and ciguatera toxicity in the liver of the Caribbean barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda). Biol Trace Elem Res 1999; 70(1): 69-79.
Morgano MA, Rabonato LC, Milani RF, Miyagusku L, Balian SC. Assessment of trace elements in fishes of Japanese foods marketed in Sao Paulo (Brazil). Food Control 2011; 22(5): 778-85.
Sinkakarimi MH, Pourkhabbaz RR, Hassanpour M. The study of waterfowl organs as bioindicators of metals pollution in southeastern Caspian Sea [MSc Thesis]. Birjand, Iran: Department of Environment, University of Birjand; 2013.
Horwitz W. Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists. Gaithersburg, MD: The Association p. 2200; 2000.
Environmental Protection Agency. Assessing human health risks from chemically contaminated fish and shellfish: a guidance manual. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 1989.
World Health Organization. Evaluations of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) [Online]. [cited 2013]; Available from: URL: http://apps.who.int/food-additives-contaminants-jecfa-database/search.aspx?fc=47
Copat C, Vinceti M, D'Agati MG, Arena G, Mauceri V, Grasso A, et al. Mercury and selenium intake by seafood from the Ionian Sea: A risk evaluation. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2014; 100: 87-92.
Ministry of Health and Medical Education of Iran. Heavy Metals, Risk, Ducks, Food Additives, Humans [Online]. [cited 2015]; Available from: URL: http://behdasht.gov.ir/?siteid=1&pageid=1508&newsview=129600
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Risk based concentration table. Washington, DC: USEPA; 2009.
Chien LC, Hung TC, Choang KY, Yeh CY, Meng PJ, Shieh MJ, et al. Daily intake of TBT, Cu, Zn, Cd and As for fishermen in Taiwan. Sci Total Environ 2002; 285(1-3): 177-85.
Garcia-Leston J, Mendez J, Pasaro E, Laffon B. Genotoxic effects of lead: an updated review. Environ Int 2010; 36(6): 623-36.
Plaskett D, Potter IC. Heavy Metal Concentrations in the Muscle Tissue of 12 Species of Teleost from Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 1979; 30(5): 607-16.
El-Sikaliy A, Khaled A, Nemr A. Heavy metals monitoring using bivaleves from Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea. Environ Monit Assess 2004: 98(1-3): 41-58.
United Kingdom Lead in Food Regulations. Food and Drugs Act. London, UK: Her Majesty's Stationery Office; 1955.
The commission of the European communities. Commission regulation (EC) no 466: setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs [Online]. [cited 2001]; Available from: URL: http://ec.europa.eu/food/fs/sfp/fcr/fcr02_en.pdf
Dirican S, Cilek S, Ciftci H, Biyikoglu M, Karacinar S, Yokus A. Preliminary study on heavy metal concentrations of Anatolian Khramulya, Capoeta tinca (Heckel, 1843) from ?aml?g?ze Dam Lake, Sivas, Turkey. J Environ Health Sci Eng 2013; 11(1): 1-7.
Binkowski LJ. Is the meat of wild waterfowl fit for human consumption? Preliminary results of cadmium and lead concentration in pectoral muscles of Mallards and Coots shot in 2006 in southern Poland. J Microbiol Biotechnol Food Sci 2012; 1: 1120-8.
Szymczyk K, Zalewski K. Copper, Zinc, Lead and Cadmium Content in Liver and Muscles of Mallards (Anas Platyrhychnos) and Other Hunting Fowl Species in Warmia and Mazury in 1999-2000. Pol J Environ Stud 2003; 12(3): 381-6.
Kalisinska E, Salicki W. Lead and Cadmium Levels in Muscle, Liver, and Kidney of Scaup Aythya marila from Szczecin Lagoon, Poland. Pol J Environ Stud 2010; 19(6): 1213-22.
Barbieri E, Passos EA, Filippini A, dos Santos IS, Garcia CA. Assessment of trace metal concentration in feathers of seabird (Larus dominicanus) sampled in the Florianopolis, SC, Brazilian coast. Environ Monit Assess 2010; 169(1-4): 631-8.
Kim J, Oh JM. Metal levels in livers of waterfowl from Korea. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2012; 78: 162-9.
Gabriel UU, Ugwemorubong UG, Horsfall M. Trace Metals in the Tissues and Shells of Tympanotonus Fuscatus var. Radula from the Mangrove Swamps of the Bukuma Oil Field, Niger Delta). Eur J Sci Res 2008; 24(4): 468-76.
Bojar H, Bojar I. Monitoring of contamination of the Lublin region wetlands using Mallards [Anas platyrhynchos] as a vector of the contamination by various conditionally toxic elements. Annals of Animal Science 2009; 9(2): 195-204.
Kalisinska E, Salicki W, Myslek P, Kavetska KM, Jackowski A. Using the Mallard to biomonitor heavy metal contamination of wetlands in north-western Poland. Sci Total Environ 2004; 320(2-3): 145-61.
Wang SL, Xu XR, Sun YX, Liu JL, Li HB. Heavy metal pollution in coastal areas of South China: a review. Mar Pollut Bull 2013; 76(1-2): 7-15.
Qin CY, Fang ZQ, Tang YJ, An D, Yang XB. Contents and evaluation of heavy metals in common aquatic from Lingding Yang in Pearl River estuary, South China Sea. Journal of South China Normal University 2010; 1(3): 104-9.
Huang CJ, Zhao Z. Assessment on contents of heavy metals in seafoods from Zhanjiang Harbor. Journal of Shantou University 2007; 22(1): 30-6.
Qiu YW, Yu KF, Zhang G, Wang WX. Accumulation and partitioning of seven trace metals in mangroves and sediment cores from three estuarine wetlands of Hainan Island, China. J Hazard Mater 2011; 190(1-3): 631-8.
Ihedioha JN, Okoye CO. Dietary intake and health risk assessment of lead and cadmium via consumption of cow meat for an urban population in Enugu State, Nigeria. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 2013; 93: 101-6.