Heavy metals contamination in fresh fish and canned fish distributed in local market of Tehran

Document Type : Original


1 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Division of Food Safety & Hygiene, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

2 Meat Products Training Center, Applied Sciences University, Tehran, Iran.


Background and objective: Contamination of foods with heavy metals has been a controversial issue in health agencies. It is a great concern in seafood due to contamination of seawater with industrial pollutants. The current study aimed to measure concentration of heavy metals in fresh fish and canned fish distributed in Tehran, capital city of Iran. In addition, evaluation of their arisen risk was also done based on national and international determined levels.
Materials and methods: Total number of 46 samples including 34 fresh fish and 12 canned fish in three replicates were randomly collected from Tehran. Concentration of heavy metals in the samples was determined by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Assessment of heavy metals’ risk caused by consumption of canned fish was done by calculation of estimated daily intake of heavy metals in the consumers, which further compared to reference dose determined by health agencies (known as hazard quotient formula).
Results and conclusion: Concentration of Cd, Hg, and Pb were less than the maximum permissible levels determined by national standard of Iran and FAO/WHO in all fresh fish samples. In comparison, heavy metals concentration in 4% of canned fish samples was higher than the maximum permissible levels. Hazard quotients of 1.9 × 10-1, 2.2 × 10-2, 6 × 10-3, and 6.09 × 10−4 were respectively achieved for Hg, Pb, Cd, and As by consumption of canned fish in the consumers. Therefore, our evaluation confirmed safety of the samples so that no concern was seen with respect to concentration of heavy metals in fresh fish and canned fish samples distributed in local markets of Tehran.


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