Environmental Chemistry Letters

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 903–917 | Cite as

Bioaccumulation of non-essential hazardous heavy metals and metalloids in freshwater fish. Risk to human health

  • Hazrat AliEmail author
  • Ezzat KhanEmail author


Contamination of freshwater fish with toxic heavy metals and metalloids is a major environmental issue in terms of public health. For instance, Cd, Pb, Hg and As are biologically non-essential elements with known adverse effects. Consumption of fish contaminated with metals thus poses a risk to human health. Here we review the bioaccumulation of Cd, Pb, Hg and As in freshwater fish, and we discuss the associated risk to human health. We present possible routes for uptake of heavy metals and metalloids in fish. Various factors affect bioaccumulation in fish, such as fish feeding guilds. We also present various indices used to assess risk to human health, such as metal pollution index, health risk index, target hazard quotient and hazard index.


Bioaccumulation Freshwater fish Heavy metals/metalloids Human health Risk assessment 



The authors are thankful to the two anonymous reviewers whose comments and suggestions helped to improve the quality of the manuscript.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of MalakandChakdara, Dir LowerPakistan
  2. 2.Green and Environmental Chemistry, Ecotoxicology and Ecology Laboratory, Department of ZoologyUniversity of MalakandChakdara, Dir LowerPakistan

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