Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 9490–9499 | Cite as

Health risk assessment of heavy metals in Cyprinus carpio (Cyprinidae) from the upper Mekong River

  • Ji Lai Zhang
  • Li Fang
  • Jing Yi Song
  • Xia Luo
  • Kai Dao FuEmail author
  • Li Qiang ChenEmail author
Research Article


The purposes of this research are to quantify the concentration of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, As, Pb, Cd, and Hg) in the water and fish tissues of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) in the upper Mekong River and to thereby elucidate the potential dietary health risks from fish consumption of local residents. Surface water and fish tissues (gill, muscle, liver, and intestine) from four representative sample areas (influence by a cascade of four dams) along the river were analyzed for heavy metal concentrations. Results revealed that the levels of heavy metals in fish were tissue-dependent. The highest Cu and As levels were found in the liver; the highest Zn and Pb levels occurred in the intestine, and the highest Hg level was found in the muscle. The total target hazard quotient (THQ) value for residents is > 1 for long-term fish consumption, and local residents are, therefore, exposed to a significant health risk. Results from the current study provide an overall understanding of the spatial and tissue distribution of heavy metals in water and fish body along the upper Mekong River under the influence of cascade dams and highlight the potential health risk of As for the local residents of long-term fish consumption.


Heavy metals Distribution Health risk assessment Mekong River Cascade dams 


Funding information

This work has been financially supported by the National Natural Science of China (Grant Nos. 21567029, 41571032, 41561144012), Yunnan University Graduate Students Fund (YNU2016018), and Outstanding Doctoral Cultivation Fund of Yunnan University (Grant No. ynuy201405).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of International Rivers and Eco-security, Yunnan Key Laboratory of International Rivers and Trans-boundary Eco-securityYunnan UniversityKunmingPeople’s Republic of China

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