Marine ecosystems are subject to contamination by metals and metalloids and other elements and compounds that are emitted due to various human activities. These substances subsequently induce changes in marine biota after entering the marine environment. Marine organisms are frequently consumed worldwide because they constitute relatively cheap and accessible food items of high nutrient quality. The aim of this study was to estimate metal accumulation in frequently consumed marine species and to evaluate the associated health risks for particular population groups in a coastal region of northwestern Mexico. The marine species were consumed in different quantities between spring (from 0.29 kg year−1 for white clam, to 38.40 kg year−1 for blue crab) and autumn (from 0.34 kg year−1 for white clam, to 15.02 kg year−1 for leopard grouper). The general distribution of metal concentrations in the marine species (n = 13 in each season) evaluated in this study followed the trend of Fe > Zn > Cu > Mn > Cr with the highest metal concentrations detected during autumn. Although many metal concentrations were above the international standards of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the hazard quotient (HQ) and hazard index (HI) values for the women in this study indicated that their health was not at risk due to the consumption of either fish or seafood. In contrast, the HQ and HI values determined for groups of men and children indicated that they are at risk due to the frequent consumption of most species evaluated in this study.
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- Coastal populations
- Fish and seafood
- Hazard index
- Hazard quotient