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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


ADDO-BEDIAKO, A; MARR, SM; JOOSTE, A  and  LUUS-POWELL, WJ. Human health risk assessment for silver catfish Schilbe intermedius Rüppell, 1832, from two impoundments in the Olifants River, Limpopo, South Africa. Water SA [online]. 2014, vol.40, n.4, pp.607-614. ISSN 1816-7950.

ABSTRACT As rural populations grow and rural poverty increases, consumption of fish from contaminated river systems will increase to supplement dietary protein requirements. The concentrations of metals in fish muscle tissue at two impoundments of the Olifants River (Flag Boshielo Dam and the Phalaborwa Barrage) were measured, and a human health risk assessment following Heath et al. (2004) conducted to investigate whether consumption of Schilbe intermedius from these impoundments posed a risk to human health. The results confirmed that metals are accumulating in the muscle tissue of S. intermedius. No patterns were observed in the ratios of the metals bio-accumulated at each impoundment. The human health risk assessment identified that all fish analysed exceeded the recommended levels for safe consumption for lead and chromium and about 50% exceeded the recommended level for antimony at Flag Boshielo Dam. Almost all fish analysed exceeded the recommended level for lead and more than 50% exceeded the recommended level for arsenic at the Phalaborwa Barrage. We conclude that weekly consumption of S. intermedius from these impoundments may pose an unacceptable risk to the health of rural communities.

Keywords : risk assessment; human health; Schilbe intermedius; lead; chromium; antimony.

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