Health Risks Associated with Heavy Metals in Commercial Chicken Meat Via Consumption Within Southern Nigeria

Chicken meat is classed among one of the major sources of animal proteins and still enjoys global acceptance to date without recourse to their heavy metal residues. Dr. Ogu, G. I. of the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, Novena University, Ogume, Delta State, Nigeria study was conducted to investigated the heavy metal residues in raw chicken meat and the associated health risk via consumption within major markets in southern Nigeria. A total of 240 raw chicken meat samples (muscle tissues) were purchased randomly from Warri, Akure, Ado-Ekiti and Benin City markets. After ashing, digestion and heavy metals analysis for Pb, Cr, Cd, Mn, Ni, Zn and Cu using standard atomic adsorption spectrophotometer, the target hazard quotient (THQ), health risk index (HI) and daily intake index (non-carcinogenic risk) and incremental cancer risk in children and adults were determined. The mean heavy metals ranged from 0.001 ± 0.001 mg/kg (Cr) to 2.094 ± 0.001 mg/kg (Zn) and varied significantly (P<0.05) with Warri samples (58.9 %) yielding the highest level, followed by Benin City (26.8 %), Ado-Ekiti (10.2 %) and Akure (4.2 %) samples. The non-carcinogenic risks (HR/HI) were substantially low for the metals studied in all the locations except for Cd, which could pose serious health risk among children in Warri location. However, the incremental cancer risk ranged from 10-4 to 10-3 in all the locations, suggesting at least a cancer case per 1,000 exposed people (both in children and adults). Considering the impending public health risks, critical hazards points of heavy metals contaminations along meat production chains should be properly identified to drastically reduce their potential risks to exposed consumers.