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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Heavy metal contamination in retailed food in Bangladesh: a dietary public health risk assessment

Begum, Ruhena; Akter, Rahima; Dang-Xuan, Sinh; Islam, Shariful; Siddiky, Nure Alam; Uddin, A. S. M. Ashab; Mahmud, Asheak; Sarker, Md Samun; Grace, Delia; Samad, Mohammed Abdus; Lindahl, Johanna F.


IntroductionContamination with heavy and toxic metals along the food value chain is a public health concern in Bangladesh. MethodsIn this study, 608 fish and chicken samples from traditional and modern retail outlets in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas were collected and analyzed for chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) contamination, using atomic absorption spectrometry method. The daily intake, target hazard quotient and the target carcinogenic risk (for lead only) as a result of fish and chicken consumption was calculated based on mean results, and by Monte Carlo simulation in @Risk with 100,000 iterations (quantitative risk assessment). ResultsCr and Cd were detected in 80-86% of both chicken meat and fish samples, while Pb positivity found in chicken meat and fish was 54.9 and 23.3%, respectively. The mean concentration (+/- SD) of Cr, Cd, and Pb in chicken meat were 0.66 +/- 0.93, 0.02 +/- 0.03, and 0.09 +/- 0.10 mg/kg, respectively; and in fish were 0.49 +/- 0.62, 0.02 +/- 0.03, and 0.06 +/- 0.09 mg/kg, respectively. The estimated daily intakes of Cr, Cd, and Pb from chicken and fish were lower than the maximum tolerable daily intake in all studied areas. In addition, the target carcinogenic risk for Pb in chicken was lower than the negligible range, which indicated the risk of cancer due to exposure to Pb through chicken meat and fish consumption was very low. DiscussionThe present study concludes that consumption of chicken meat and fish in Bangladesh, currently at very low levels, is unlikely to constitute a major health risk for humans in respect to these metals. However, continuous market surveillance for heavy metals in food stuff is recommended, especially since consumers may increase their meat intake.


food safety; chemical hazards; quantitative risk assessment; trace metal; dietary intake; lead; cadmium; chromium

Published in

Frontiers in sustainable food systems
2023, Volume: 7, article number: 1085809

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
    End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Food Science

    Publication identifier


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