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Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Fish from Lake Awassa in the Ethiopian Rift Valley: Human Health Risks

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Dietary intake of fish containing organic contaminants poses a potential threat to human health. In the present work, an assessment has been carried out to look at the human health risk associated with consumption of fish contaminated with organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyles (PCBs) in certain fish species collected from Lake Hawassa, Ethiopia. The health risk assessment was made by comparing the concentrations of OCPs and PCBs in fish muscle tissues with reference doses given in the USEPA guidelines. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs), endosulfans, PCBs and chloridanes were identified in fish species collected from Lake Hawassa. The most predominant pesticides were DDTs, with mean concentrations of ΣDDT ranging from 19 to 56 ngg−1 wet weights. The highest concentrations of DDTs were found in Barbus intermedius, representing the highest trophic level. PCBs, DDT and endosulfan concentrations found in B. intermedius exceeded the reference dose for children between the ages of 0–1 year (with hazard index of above 1.0). Therefore, consumption of fish from a high trophic level (e.g. B. intermedius) from Lake Hawassa may pose a special health risk to children.

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This study was financially supported by the Norwegian Program for Development, Research and Higher Education (NUFU); Project ID: NUFU PRO 2007/10115. The staff members at Bioforsk, Pesticide Chemistry Section are acknowledged for their help in the lab work. We also extend our thanks to Erling Fløistad for his help in developing the map of the study area.

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Correspondence to Ermias Deribe.

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Deribe, E., Rosseland, B.O., Borgstrøm, R. et al. Organochlorine Pesticides and Polychlorinated Biphenyls in Fish from Lake Awassa in the Ethiopian Rift Valley: Human Health Risks. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 93, 238–244 (2014).

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