HomeIAMURE International Journal of Ecology and Conservationvol. 14 no. 1 (2015)

Heavy Metals in Processed Fish Commercially Available in the Philippines: An Environmental Toxicology Study

Judilynn N. Solidum

Discipline: Ecology



Fish is the staple viand for Filipinos. Unsurprisingly, fish processing becomes a livelihood in the Philippines. Lead, cadmium and chromium contamination in fish may result to adverse health effects. This study aimed to determine such heavy metals in processed fish (dried and smoked) in both head and meat sold in the markets of Metro Manila, Philippines. The levels were compared with each other. The levels of heavy metals obtained were also compared with standard limits set by the US Agency for Toxic and Disease Registry, Center for Food Safety in Hongkong, the United States and California Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The samples were analyzed using Flame Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry. All processed fish, smoked and dried samples contained lead, cadmium and chromium. Smoked Bisugo (Nemipterus japonicus) head had lead that went beyond the allowed limit. All dried fish samples contained cadmium beyond the acceptable limit. Only Galunggong (Decapterus macrosoma) meat went beyond the acceptable cadmium limit for smoked fish. Chromium in all samples went beyond the limit set by California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and Environmental Protection Agency but not by the US EPA and Center for Food Safety limits in HongKong. Using Student’s t-test, the levels of lead and cadmium (head, meat) in processed fish showed statistically insignificant difference similar to chromium in smoked but not for dried fish. Hence, all processed fish samples contain lead, cadmium and chromium. The species and body parts with heavy metals beyond the acceptable limits vary.