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Herbicides in the tissues and organs of different fish species (Kalk Bay harbour, South Africa): occurrence, levels and risk assessment


This study evaluated the levels and concentrations of five selected herbicides in fish species wild-caught and sold at Kalk Bay harbour, Cape Town, South Africa. The samples were analysed using gas chromatography coupled with mass chromatography. The concentration detected in the fish samples ranged from atrazine: not detected (nd) to 66 ng/g dry weight (dw), simazine: nd to 158 ng/g dw, alachlor: nd to 48 ng/g dw, metolachlor: nd to 94 ng/g dw and butachlor: nd to 9 ng/g dw. The ecological risk assessment results were greater than 0.5 for acute risk and 1.0 chronic risk, while the human risk evaluation indicates that the concentration of these chemical contaminants in the selected fish samples showed that there is possibility of developing cancers should the fishes be consumed over a period of time. Therefore, there is need to set up an appropriate guideline and monitoring of the use, storage and disposal of these chemicals in Western Cape Province and South Africa generally.

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We acknowledge National Research Foundation for the NRF rating funds and University of the Western Cape for the SR funds for this study.

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Authors and Affiliations



CYO and LP conceived and planned the experiment; CYO performed the experiment, analysed the data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript, CTO and LP reviewed the manuscript. LP provided reagents, materials and funding for this research and designed the structure of the manuscript.  

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Correspondence to C. Y. Ojemaye.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Editorial responsibility: Jing Chen.

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Ojemaye, C.Y., Onwordi, C.T. & Petrik, L. Herbicides in the tissues and organs of different fish species (Kalk Bay harbour, South Africa): occurrence, levels and risk assessment. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 17, 1637–1648 (2020).

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  • Fish
  • Risk assessment
  • Herbicides
  • Fish parts
  • Fish organs