Mal J Nutr 22(2): 301 - 305, 2016


Human Health Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Shellfish from Kudat, Sabah
Razinah Sharif1, Elizabeth Chong2 & Chan Kok Meng2

1Program of Nutritional Sciences, School of Health Care Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
2 Program of Environmental Health and Industrial Safety, School of Diagnostic Science & Applied Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia


Introduction:Shellfish is likely to be contaminated with heavy metals brought about by various environmental factors such as climate change, bioaccumulation of environmental contaminants and imbalanced natural ecosystem. Methods: Shellfish were selected for heavy metal detection as they are mainly consumed by the locals in Kudat. Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Nickel, and Plumbum (As, Cd, Cr, Ni, and Pb) content in clam (Meretrix spp.), scallop (Amusium pleuronectes) and conch (Strombus canabrium) were determined by the US EPA 200.3 acid digestion method and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrophotometer (ICP-MS). Risk assessment was calculated to assess the total exposure of heavy metals among the population of Kudat. Results: Among all the heavy metals, studied, As was found to have the highest concentration and this was found in scallop with the concentration level being 18.93±5.30 µg/g compared to clam and conch. Estimated daily intake of the heavy metals by the population ranged from 0.60-6.82 g/day/ kg for As, 0.02-1.58µg/day/kg for Cd, 0.37-0.94µg/day/kg for Cr, 0.16-0.61 g/day/ kg for Ni and 0.10-0.25µg/day/kg for Pb based on previous calculation to exposure. The hazard quotient of As and Cd in scallop was greater than 1.0. No acceptable exposure level for these shellfish has been previously reported. The rate of consumption of these metals did not exceed the standards prescribed in the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985. Conclusion: Based on this study, it is concluded that the exposure to heavy metals risk from the consumption of these shellfish among the population in Kudat, Sabah is at an acceptable level.

Keywords: Heavy metals, Kudat, risk assessment, shellfish

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