International Journal of Current Research and Review
ISSN: 2231-2196 (Print)ISSN: 0975-5241 (Online)
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IJCRR - Vol 05 Issue 18, September, 2013

Pages: 41-46

Date of Publication: 25-Sep-2013

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Author: Rajeev Kumar1, A. K. Gupta, Amit Chattree, R. M. Tripathi

Category: Healthcare

Abstract:The consumption of highly contaminated water and eatables may prove lethal to the human being and may bring genetic disorders. Toxic heavy metals are continuously released to the aquatic bodies in Allahabad as a rapid industrialization. Metals are the problem of magnitude and of ecological significance due to their high toxicity and ability to accumulate in living organisms. Many toxicologists have worked on the analysis and detection of heavy metals in the water bodies, soil, sediments, plankton, fish organs, etc. The main aim of this paper is to provide an in-depth review for the heavy metal concentration in water, fish, sediments, eatables, such as vegetables grown on River beds, etc and to give recommendations to prevent the health hazards against consumption.

Keywords: Heavy Metal, Sediments, Industrialization, Hazards.

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Due to evolution of technology, the rise of industries at or along the bank of water bodies is one of the main causes of pollution which may cause the health hazards for the population consuming the contaminated water and other related eatables. Many publications are available all around the world consisting the heavy metal detection and have been discussed in the paper. Due to the number of references collected from the variety of sources, some lacks or omissions are possible. Authors have tried to cover maximum number of information, some of them are briefly discussed below:-

Widianarko et al (2000) studied the relationship among sediment, water and fish for their metal concentrations in urban streams of Semarang, Indonesia and found a significant declining trend of lead concentrations with increasing organism size, whereas for two other metals, Zn and Cu, the concentrations did not depend on the body weight. However, metal concentration in the sediment was the most important factor governing the toxicity of metal in fish body. The fish living in highly polluted sites have also developed a physiological adaption by accumulating a large quantity of metals.

Tole et al (2003) carried out a study to establish the concentrations of Pb, Cd, As and Se in Lake Victoria waters, sediments and fish in order to assess the current threats to human health from heavy metal pollution, and also compare the current status with previous studies conducted in the Lake, so that current trends in heavy metal pollution in the Lake waters, sediments, and fish can serve as a pointer to future status.

Nnaji et al (2007) used flame Atomic Absorption Spectrometer (AAS). The Oreochromis Niloticus and Synodontis Schall were caught with cast net from twenty sampling points. The fish samples were dissected to separate the fish head/viscera from other parts after weighing. The samples were digested with concentrated acid solution and the digests were analysed. Mean metal contents in the fish head/viscera of O. Niloticus in the upstream and downstream area were calculated. After comparison of these values with FAO limits in fish tissue the study suggested that it is unsafe to consume the fish head/viscera of both fish species from River Galma.

Abdallah (2008) studied the concentrations of  Cd, Pb, Cu, Cr and Zn in muscles of some commercially fish species collected from two coastal areas of the Egyptian coast of the Mediterranean Sea west of Alexandria (El-Mex Bay and Eastern Harbour). For all trace element examined, in all fishes zinc was the highest followed by Cr, Cu, Pb and Cd. The levels of Cr surpassed the maximum permissible concentration in most fish tissues, followed by Pb and Cd in some species. Cu and Zn concentrations were found to be below the maximum permissible levels proposed by Food and Agriculture Organization. 

In Saudi Arabia V, Cd, Zn, As, Ni, Pb and Hg levels in most common available fish species in Saudi markets were determined by Al-Bader (2008). Results showed that the concentrations of metals were below the maximum allowed limit by the Saudi and international legislations for fish human consumption permissible limit.

Mourtaja (2008) determined concentrations of Zn, Cr, Cd, Pb and Cu in three marine fishes namely, Grey mullet, Barracuda and Sigan species. The average concentrations of these heavy metals in muscles of Grey mullet were for Zn: 4.675; Cr: 0.120; Cd: 0.096; Pb: 2.606 and Cu: 0.3743 (g/g dry wt.). In Barracuda the average concentrations were 6.030, 0.151, 0,092, 2.618 and 0.247( g/g dry wt.), respectively. In Sigan fish the averages were 6.258, 0.141, 0.123, 2.389 and 0.570 (g/g dry wt.), respectively. 

Obasohan and Eguavoen (2008) investigated accumulation levels of Cu, Mn, Zn, Cd, Ni and Pb in a freshwater fish (Erpetoichthys Calabaricus) from Ogba River, Nigeria, during dry and rainy seasons. Findings showed that the accumulation levels in fish exceeded the levels of the metals in water and indicated bioaccumulation in fish and no significant differences of metal levels between the dry and rainy season. Findings also showed that both dry and rainy season mean levels of Cu, Mn and Ni in fish exceeded WHO recommended limits in food, suggested that the fishes of the River are not suitable for human consumption. They recommended that a close monitoring of metal pollution of Ogba River is strongly advocated, in view of the possible risks to health of consumers of fish from the River.

Prasath et al (2008) used Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer for the detection of accumulation of heavy metals (Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn, Co, Pb, Cd and Ni) in water, sediments and fish (Mugil Cephalus) at Poompuhar coast (southeast coast of India) before and after Tsunami.  Accumulation of heavy metals was observed in the order of Sediments > Fish > Water.  In water, the order was found to be Mn > Fe > Zn > Cu > Ni > Cd > Co > Pb; Mn recorded a maximum of 506.9µ.L-1 and Pb recorded a minimum of 0.006 µ.L-1 In sediments, the order was Mn > Fe > Cu > Zn > Pb ≈ Co ≈ Cd ≈ Ni; Mn recorded a maximum of 851.1µg.g-1 and a minimum of below detectable levels were found in Pb, Co, Cd and Ni.  In fish, the order was found to be Fe > Zn > Mn > Cu > Ni > Co ≈ Pb ≈ Cd; Fe recorded a maximum of 529.13 µg.g-1 and a minimum of below detectable levels were found in Pb and Cd.

Saeed and Shaker (2008) presented a report about concentrations of Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Cd and Pb in O. Niloticus (Tilapia) fish tissues, water and sediments in northern Delta Lakes. They found that the edible part of O. Niloticus from Lake Edku and Manzala contained the highest levels of Cd while fish from Manzala Lake contained the highest level of Pb. They reported that Nile tilapia caught from these two Lakes may pose health hazards for consumers.

Vinodhini et al. (2008) determined the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in various organs of the fresh water fish exposed to heavy metal contaminated water system using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. The experimental fish was exposed to Cr, Ni, Cd and Pb at sub lethal concentrations for periods of 32 days. The results were given as µg/g dry wt. The accumulation of heavy metal gradually increases in liver during the heavy metal exposure period. All the results were statistically significant at p < 0.001. The order of heavy metal accumulation in the gills and liver was Cd > Pb > Ni > Cr and Pb > Cd > Ni > Cr. Similarly, in case of kidney and flesh tissues, the order was Pb > Cd > Cr > Ni and Pb > Cr > Cd > Ni. In all heavy metals, the bioaccumulation of lead and cadmium proportion was significantly increased in the tissues of Cyprinus carpio (Common carp).

Rauf et al  (2009) carried out a study to determine heavy metal (cadmium and chromium) concentrations in gills, kidneys, liver, skin, muscles and scales of three fish species (Catla catla, Labeo rohita and Cirrhina mrigala). The sample collection was carried out from three places viz. Lahore Siphon (Up-stream), Shahdera Bridge and Baloki Headworks (Down stream) in the River Ravi, Pakistan. The results showed that Heavy metal concentrations varied significantly depending upon the type of fish tissues and locations. The concentrations of Cd and Cr differed significantly (p<0.001) among five fish organs and three sites and non-significantly between the three fish species. Fish liver appeared to have significantly higher tendency for the accumulation of cadmium and chromium (4.26 ± 1.57 and 6.23 ± 1.14 µgg-1), while gills had minimum concentrations (1.10 ± 0.53 and 1.46 ± 0.52 µgg-1) of these metals. Generally, Catla Catla showed higher levels of metal concentrations than Labeo Rohita and Cirrhina Mrigala. Metal contamination was highest at Baloki Headworks, probably due to inclusion of more effluents from industrial and sewage water. 

Lakshmanan et al (2009) carried out a study on the detection of accumulated heavy metals in the fishes of Parangipettai coastal waters. The fishes are important from the commercial point of view and analyzed for the Zn, Pb, Cr, Co and Cd concentrations in the muscles. The statistical results suggested that there is no significant species-specific difference. The highest concentration of Cr and Zn whereas lowest concentration of Pb

In India, Raja et al (2009), determined the concentrations of Cr, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Ni, Co, Zn and Al in four commercially available marine edible fish species from Parangipettai coast. They reported that metal levels in edible parts of the investigated fish was in the permissible safety levels for human uses according to FAO, 1983; EC, 2001; Food and Drug  Administration, 2001 standards.

In Nigeria, Alinnor and Obiji  (2010) performed a study to examine trace metal (Pb, Fe, Cd, Mn, Hg, Cu and Zn composition in fish samples from Nworie River and in frozen fish samples purchased from Ekeonunwa. Nworie River contaminated the biota in the aquatic system with these elements which its toxicants will be transferred to man by consumption of fish obtained from the River. Also they found that frozen fish samples purchased from Ekeonunwa market were contaminated with heavy metals. 

Mandour et al (2011) used atomic absorption spectrophotometer for the analysis of Fifty-four drinking groundwater samples collected in April 2010 from some districts of the Dakahlyia governorate, Egypt. The water samples were analyzed for Fe.Mn,Pb,Ni,Cr,Zn,Cu,Co and Cd concentrations. Two were found suitable for drinking; from the water sample from Aga district showed slightly higher levels of Cd and Ni (Ikhtab and Feshbena) than other areas; the concentrations were higher than the permissible limits of Egyptian Ministry of Health and WHO.

Sabra et al (2011) carried out the sequential extraction study on the sample of sediment of Deule canal. The sediments were subjected to a physico-chemical characterization comprising particle size classification and heavy metals sequential extraction studies.  Study reported the total metallic concentrations of several metals such as Cd, Zn, Pb or Cu exceeded from the limit permitted by French standards. Particles that are less than 53 µm in size contains as an average, 92% of the total weight of each metal. These particles represent about 85% of the suspended matter dry weight. This sequential extraction study revels that most of the studied metals are strongly linked to the sediments because of their association with the sulphides and with the organic matter.

Kaur et al (2012) used ICP-MS for the monitoring of seasonal variation (Year 2011) of the heavy metals concentration of water of Yamuna River flowing through Delhi. The analysis was carried out for the heavy metals Pb, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cd, Co, Cu, Cr and Ni. For this purpose, sampling was done from ten selected study sites (most likely to be affected by industrial & anthropogenic activities) during two seasons i.e. summer (May) and winter (January). Result shows broad variation in the heavy metal levels varying from high concentration during summer and low concentrations during winter season. The concentration of Pb, Cd, Cr, Cu, Zn and Co was detected under the permissible limits of ICMR, CPCB, WHO and EPA. Eminent concentrations of Fe, Ni & Mn were reported at Boat club, Yamuna Bazaar, Nigambodh Ghat, Delhi old Bridge, ITO, Nizamuddin Bridge and Mayur Vihar. Also, Pb, Cd, Cu and Co have shown significant variation (p<0.05) in their concentration between summer and winter seasons, with less accumulation during winter and high during summers. Authors discussed that high heavy metal concentration during summer may be attributed to increased water temperature during summer that may result in increased metal toxicity.

Shabanda et al (2012) used atomic absorption spectrophotometer for the detection of Cd, Cr, Pb, Mn and Al in water, sediments, gills and flesh of both Synodntissorex and Bagrus filamentosus from River Jega in Kebbi State, Nigeria. The pattern of distribution of the heavy metals showed a preponderance of Cr and Mn over other metals in the organs of the two fish species as well as in the water and sediment samples. Al was not detected in the organs of fish species, water and sediment. The concentration of Mn was found highest in the sediment and lowest in water. The unexpectedly high concentration value obtained for Cr and Mn calls for medical alertness since it exceeded the WHO recommended acceptable limits for consumption. Cd and Pb distribution in all the samples was lower than the WHO and USEPA recommended acceptable limits for consumption.


The toxicologist has continually detected the heavy metal concentration in various water bodies, plants, vegetables, etc. Human health is directly affected by the consumption of polluted water, fish, fruits, vegetables, and plants etc which are the main sources of food for human. Earlier studies have shown exceeded heavy metal limit which shows that fish and drinking water is not suitable for consumption whereas somewhere it is below the permissible limit.


There is a need to maintain control on disposal of industrial waste in water bodies and to bio-monitor the trace elements in the water and other eatables.  The practice of trace element detection should be continued to avoid possible consumption of contaminated eatables. It is recommended that awareness should be spread among the people regarding the hazards on consumption of polluted water and related eatables. It is also essential that farmers should be educated to reduce such contamination and should be encouraged to use the controlled amount of pesticides, to avoid the leaching of waste water and cultivating in a field far away from industrial area as well as areas prone to contamination.


The Corresponding author is highly oblige to University Grant Commission for providing fellowship for research and development work in Forensic Science.


  1. Widianarko B, VanGestel C A M, Verweij R A and Van Straalen N M (2000).Associations between trace metals in sediment, Water and Aguppy, Poecilia Reticulate (Peters), from urban streams of Semarang, Indonesia. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 46:101-107.
  2. Mwakio P. Tole and Jenipher Muhalulukhu Shitsama (2003).  “Concentrations of Heavy Metals in Water, Fish, and Sediments of the Winam Gulf, Lake Victoria, Kenya”.
  3. Nnaji J C, Uzairu A, Harrison G. F. S. and Balarabe M. L (2007). “Evaluation of Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Lead and Zinc Concentrations in the Fish Head/Viscera of Oreochromis Niloticus and Synodontis Schall of River Galma, Zaria, Nigeria”.
  4. Abdallah A. M. (2008). Trace element levels in some commercially valuable fish species from coastal waters of Mediterranean Sea, Egypt,. Journal of Marine Systems. 73(1-2): p. 114-122.
  5. Al bader, N. (2008). Heavy metal levels in most common available fish species in Saudi market. Journal of food technology. 6(4): p. 173- 177.
  6. Mourtaja, M. (2008).Evaluation of microble and heavy metals contaminants on fresh fish in Gaza Strip shore, in Food Science and Technology, Al- Azhar: Gaza. p. 100.
  7. E. E.Obasohan and I.O.Eguavoen (2008). Seasonal variations of bioaccumulation of heavy metals in a freshwater fish (Erpetoichthys Calabaricus) from Ogba River, Benin City, Nigeria. African Journal of General Agriculture. 4(3): p. 153156.
  8. P. Martin Deva Prasath and T. Hidayathulla Khan (2008). “Impact of Tsunami on the Heavy Metal Accumulation in Water, Sediments and Fish at Poompuhar Coast, Southeast Coast of India”.
  9. M.S. Saeed and M.I. Shaker (2000). Assessment of heavy metals pollution in water and sediment and their effect on Oreochromis Niloticus in the northern Delta lakes , Egypt  in 8th International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture. Egypt. p. 475- 490. 
  10. R. Vinodhini and M Narayanan (2008). Bioaccumulation of heavy metals in organs of fresh water fish Cyprinus Carpio (Common carp).
  11. Rauf, Javed M and Ubaidullah M (2009). Heavy metal levels in three major carps (Catla Catla, Labeo Rohita And Cirrhina Mrigala) From The River Ravi, Pakistan.
  12. Lakshmanan R, Kesavan K, Vijayanand P, Rajaram V and Rajagopal S (2009). “Heavy Metals Accumulation in Five Commercially Important Fishes of Parangipettai, Southeast Coast of India”.
  13. Raja P, Veerasingam S, Suresh G, Marichamy G and Venkatachalapathy R (2009). Heavy metals concentration in four commercially valuable marine edible fish species from Parangipettai Coast, South East Coast of India. International Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances. 1(1): p. 10-14.
  14.  Alinnor, J. and Obiji, I.( 2010). Assessment of Trace Metal Composition in Fish Samples from Nworie River. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition. 9(1): p. 81-85.
  15. RA Mandour, YA Azab (2011). “Toxic Levels of Some Heavy Metals in Drinking Groundwater in Dakahlyia Governorate, Egypt in the Year”.
  16. Nada Sabra, Henri-Charles Dubourguier and Tayssir Hamieh (2011). “Sequential Extraction and Particle Size Analysis of Heavy Metals in Sediments Dredged from the Deûle Canal, France.
  17. Simerjit Kaur (2012). “Assessment of Heavy Metals in Summer & Winter Seasons in River Yamuna Segment Flowing through Delhi, India”.
  18.  I. S. Shabanda, A. U. Itodo (2012). “Toxins in Gills and Flesh of Synodontissorex  and Bagrus filamentosus”.


Dr. Pramod Kumar Manjhi joined Editor-in-Chief since July 2021 onwards

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A Study by Muhammet Lutfi SELCUK and Fatma entitled "Distinction of Gray and White Matter for Some Histological Staining Methods in New Zealand Rabbit's Brain" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 11
A Study by Anamul Haq et al. entitled "Etiology of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Adolescents – Emphasis Upon Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 10
A Study by entitled "Estimation of Reference Interval of Serum Progesterone During Three Trimesters of Normal Pregnancy in a Tertiary Care Hospital of Kolkata" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 09
A Study by Ilona Gracie De Souza & Pavan Kumar G. entitled "Effect of Releasing Myofascial Chain in Patients with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - A Randomized Clinical Trial" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 08
A Study by Virendra Atam et. al. entitled "Clinical Profile and Short - Term Mortality Predictors in Acute Stroke with Emphasis on Stress Hyperglycemia and THRIVE Score : An Observational Study" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 07
A Study by K. Krupashree et. al. entitled "Protective Effects of Picrorhizakurroa Against Fumonisin B1 Induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice" is awarded best article for issue Vol 10 issue 20
A study by Mithun K.P. et al "Larvicidal Activity of Crude Solanum Nigrum Leaf and Berries Extract Against Dengue Vector-Aedesaegypti" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 14 of IJCRR
A study by Asha Menon "Women in Child Care and Early Education: Truly Nontraditional Work" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 13
A study by Deep J. M. "Prevalence of Molar-Incisor Hypomineralization in 7-13 Years Old Children of Biratnagar, Nepal: A Cross Sectional Study" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 11 of IJCRR
A review by Chitra et al to analyse relation between Obesity and Type 2 diabetes is awarded 'Best Article' for Vol 10 issue 10 by IJCRR. 
A study by Karanpreet et al "Pregnancy Induced Hypertension: A Study on Its Multisystem Involvement" is given Best Paper Award for Vol 10 issue 09

List of Awardees

A Study by Ese Anibor et al. "Evaluation of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders Among Delta State University Students in Abraka, Nigeria" from Vol 13 issue 16 received Emerging Researcher Award

A Study by Alkhansa Mahmoud et al. entitled "mRNA Expression of Somatostatin Receptors (1-5) in MCF7 and MDA-MB231 Breast Cancer Cells" from Vol 13 issue 06 received Emerging Researcher Award

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Disclaimer: International Journal of Current Research and Review (IJCRR) provides platform for researchers to publish and discuss their original research and review work. IJCRR can not be held responsible for views, opinions and written statements of researchers published in this journal.


International Journal of Current Research and Review (IJCRR) provides platform for researchers to publish and discuss their original research and review work. IJCRR can not be held responsible for views, opinions and written statements of researchers published in this journal


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