Assessment of trace metal levels in selected marine fish species landed in Ghana and their potential human health risk

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The study examined the levels of six (6) heavy metals; Zinc (Zn), Lead (Pb), Copper (Cu), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As) and Mercury (Hg) in four marine fish species (Sardinella maderensis, Dentex angolensis, Sphyraena sphyraena and Penaeus notialis) and their potential health risks to potentially exposed populations in Ghana in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) region. The concentrations of Zn, Pb, Cu, Cd and As in fish tissues were analyzed after microwave digestion of samples using an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry. Mercury was measured directly in the solid samples using an Automated Mercury Analyzer. With the exception of Pb, all metals analyzed were detected in fish samples. Highest concentrations of Cu (12.08 ± 1.46), Zn (19.20 ± 2.27), As (8.46 ± 2.42) and Cd (0.03 ± 0.01) were observed in the muscle tissues of P. notialis while D. angolensis recorded the highest concentration of Hg (0.14 ± 0.03). Largely, significant variations (p < 0.0001) were observed in the concentrations of metals across the various fish species analyzed. Except for As, the levels of all metals were below the tolerable limits set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the Australian and New Zealand Food standard code and the European Commission (EC).The study however reveals significant carcinogenic risk due to As intake for S. maderensis and D. angolensis in all age categories except for children between age 1 to 3 years, and all 9 age categories for P. notialis .It is therefore recommended that, the consumption of P.notialis , D. angolensis and S. maderensis caught from the Ghana coastal water is done with caution particularly among children and adolescents populations to avoid possible non-carcinogenic effects and long-term carcinogenic effects later in life.
A thesis dissertation submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environment and Public Health.
Trace metal levels, Marine fish species, Heath risk, Human, Ghana