Preliminary characterization and probabilistic risk assessment of microplastics and potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in garri (cassava flake), a common staple food consumed in West Africa

Environ Anal Health Toxicol. 2023 Mar;38(1):e2023005-0. doi: 10.5620/eaht.2023005. Epub 2023 Mar 20.


Garri from cassava is one of the most consumed foods in West Africa, hence this research was conducted to examine microplastics (MPs) and potentially toxic elements (PTEs) in garri from Nigeria (West Africa) and Japan. This is the first investigation on MPs in garri samples that has been reported in the literature. The study analyzed both packaged and unpackaged vended garri samples using microscopic/spectroscopic and X-ray fluorescence techniques for MPs and PTEs respectively. Microplastic particles in the garri samples ranged from (or were between) 2.00±2.00 - 175.00±25.16 particles/50 with > 90 % as fragments and consisted of polyacrylamide, polyethylene terepthalate, polyvinyl alcohol, high density polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride acrylonitrile, polyethylene chlorinated, polypropylene with silicate mix, polychloroprene and polyethylene chlorosulphonated. The mean concentration of PTEs raged from ND to 0.07 mg/g for Cr and Mn, 0.73 to 5.63 mg/g for Fe, ND to 0.57mg/g for Co, 0.23 to 1.21 mg/g for Ni, 0.15 to 1.53 mg/g for Cu, and 0.12 to 0.63 mg/g for Zn. However, their daily intake was low for both adult and children as with the MPs. The sources of MPs and PTEs were mainly from the garri production processes, atmospheric dusts and during packaging. The non-carcinogenic risk for all samples was low for MPs while in openly vended garri, Ni and Cr in all sample poses carcinogenic risks. There is a need to improve indigenous garri processing techniques to minimize contamination. This research emphasizes the critical necessity to understand the consequences of MPs on human health.

Keywords: Carcinogenic risks; Cassava; Food; Heavy metals; Microplastics; West Africa.