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.


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