Heavy Metals in Seafood and Farm Produce from Uyo, Nigeria : Levels and health implications

Orish E. Orisakwe, Herbert O. C. Mbagwu, Godwin C. Ajaezi, Ukeme W. Edet, Patrick U. Uwana


Objectives: This study aimed to obtain representative data on the levels of heavy metals in seafood and farm produce consumed by the general population in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, a region known for the exploration and exploitation of crude oil. Methods: In May 2012, 25 food items, including common types of seafood, cereals, root crops and vegetables, were purchased in Uyo or collected from farmland in the region. Dried samples were ground, digested and centrifuged. Levels of heavy metals (lead, cadmium, nickel, cobalt and chromium) were analysed using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Average daily intake and target hazard quotients (THQ) were estimated. Results: Eight food items (millet, maize, periwinkle, crayfish, stock fish, sabina fish, bonga fish and pumpkin leaf) had THQ values over 1.0 for cadmium, indicating a potential health risk in their consumption. All other heavy metals had THQ values below 1.0, indicating insignificant health risks. The total THQ for the heavy metals ranged from 0.389 to 2.986. There were 14 items with total THQ values greater than 1.0, indicating potential health risks in their consumption. Conclusion: The regular consumption of certain types of farm produce and seafood available in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, is likely adding to the body burden of heavy metals among those living in this region.


Heavy Metals; Food; Recommended Daily Intake; Risk Assessment; Food Safety Analysis; Nigeria.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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