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Metal bioaccumulation in fish from the Araguari River (Amazon biome) and human health risks from fish consumption

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Recently, high concentrations of metals have been found in the waters from sampling sites located in the Araguari River lower section. These metals can be bioaccumulated by fish, but also biomagnified, representing a potential risk through human consumption. Here, we aimed to (1) determine the metal concentrations in muscle samples from fish; (2) evaluate bioaccumulation of metals in muscle tissue of fish species with different feeding behaviors; and (3) investigate the risks of single metals, as well as mixture of metals, to human fish consumption. Eleven fish species were sampled (3 carnivorous, 5 omnivorous, and 3 detritivorous). In four fish species, Cd and Pb concentrations exceeded the Brazilian maximum limits (MLs) for human consumption. Individually, Pb and Cd concentrations in the muscle of these fish indicate risks to human health. When considering the mixture of metals, the consumption of all fish species represents risks. The highest risks implicate detritivorous species. For all fish species evaluated, the estimated daily intake (EDI) of Hg shows values above its reference dose (RfD). Our results suggest the need to establish an environmental monitoring program that aims to preserve environmental quality, biodiversity, and human health. It is also necessary to develop actions that aim to educate Amazonian populations on safe fish preparation and consumption.

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The datasets evaluated in this study are available from the corresponding author and can be made available upon reasonable request.


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We thank the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Amapá-FAPEAP (Process 250.2303.123/2018), ICMBio (license 63366–1), Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico-CNPq (Process 429400/2016–0), CNPq (Process 311975/2018–6, CALC), and the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior-CAPES/FAPEAP for the scholarship awarded to the first author.

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Lucilene Finoto Viana: conceptualization and writing-original draft; Fábio Kummrow: writing-review and editing; Claudia Andrea Lima Cardoso: methodology, review, and editing; Nathalya Alice de Lima: formal analysis, review, and editing; Bruno do Amaral Crispim: review and editing; Alexeia Barufatti: review and editing; and Alexandro Cezar Florentino: formal analysis, review, and editing.

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Correspondence to Lucilene Finoto Viana.

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Responsible Editor: Severine Le Faucheur

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Viana, L.F., Kummrow, F., Cardoso, C.A.L. et al. Metal bioaccumulation in fish from the Araguari River (Amazon biome) and human health risks from fish consumption. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 4111–4122 (2023).

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