Trace metals contamination potential and health risk assessment of commonly consumed fish of Perak River, Malaysia

PLoS One. 2020 Oct 26;15(10):e0241320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241320. eCollection 2020.


The rapid growth of industrial and agricultural activities in Malaysia are leading to the impairment of most of the rivers in recent years through realising various trace metals. This leads to toxicity, particularly when the toxic has entered the food chain. Perak River is one of the most dynamic rivers for the Malaysian population. Therefore, in consideration of the safety issue, this study was conducted to assess the concentration of such metals (Cd, Cu, Zn, Fe, and Pb) in the muscles of most widely consumed fish species (Barbonymus schwanenfeldii, Puntius bulum, Puntius daruphani, Hexanematichthys sagor, Channa striatus, Mystacoleucus marginatus, and Devario regina) from different locations of Perak River, Malaysia by employing inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES). Among the trace metals, Fe and Cd were found to be the highest (29.33-148.01 μg/g) and lowest (0.16-0.49 μg/g) concentration in all of the studied species, respectively. Although the estimated daily intakes (μg/kg/day) of Cd (0.65-0.85), Fe (79.27-352.00) and Pb (0.95-12.17) were higher than their reference, the total target hazard quotients values suggested that the local residents would not experience any adverse health effects from its consumption. In contrast, the target cancer risk value suggested that all fish species posed a potential cancer risk due to Cd and cumulative cancer risk values, strongly implying that continuous consumption of studied fish species would cause cancer development to its consumers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Cyprinidae
  • Ecosystem
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Fresh Water
  • Geography
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry
  • Malaysia
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Rivers*
  • Seafood / adverse effects*
  • Species Specificity
  • Trace Elements / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Trace Elements
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.