Estimation of target hazard quotients for metals by consumption of fish in the North Coast of the Persian Gulf, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Sazab Pardazan Consulting Engineering Company, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Environmental Technology Research Center AND Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

3 Department of Experimental Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Dezful Branch, Dezful, Iran

4 Environmental Technologies Research Center, Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

5 Environmental Health Research Center AND Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences, Sanandaj, Iran


In the residential area of the North Coast of the Persian Gulf, consumption of fish is a possible source of exposure to heavy metals and other pollutants, all of which may act as potential risk factors for serious syndromes and fatal diseases. Health risks associated with Pb, Cd, and Hg were assessed based on the target hazard quotients (THQ), which can be derived from concentrations of heavy metals in fish consumed in Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengeh, Iran. In the present study, 4 fish species (Euryglossa orientalis, Psettodes erumei, Epinephelus coioides and Lethrinus nebulosus) were randomly collected in commercial catches at local fishing ports from September 2011 to April 2012. Dorsal muscle was dissected as target sample after digestion. All samples were analyzed for their Cd and Pb contents using an inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and for their Hg content using an advanced mercury analyzer. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) region III risk-based concentration table was used to estimate THQ values for both adults and children. THQ values over 1 were not observed through the consumption of fish. Total THQ values of Pb, Cd, and Hg for adults were 0.19 and 0.16 in Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengeh, respectively. For children, they were 0.26 and 0.20 in Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengeh, respectively, showing that the health risk associated with exposure to these 3 heavy metals was insignificant. However, according to the data concerning levels of environmental pollutants in the most consumed fish and seafood species, more specific recommendations are needed regarding human consumption (kind of species, and frequency and size of meals. 


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