Residual levels of DDTs and PAHs in freshwater and marine fish from Hong Kong markets and their health risk assessment

K. C. Cheung, H. M. Leung, K. Y. Kong, Ming Hung WONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Axial and ventral muscle from 10 each species of freshwater and marine fish purchased from markets in Hong Kong were analyzed for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (total DDTs including DDE, DDD and DDT) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Among the 10 freshwater fish species, rice field eel (Monopterus albus) showed significantly higher levels of DDTs in both ventral (125 ng/g wet wt) and axial muscle (127 ng/g wet wt) than the other species. The highest concentration of PAHs was detected in catfish (Clarias fuscus), with 24.8 ng/g in ventral muscle and 9.1 ng/g in axial muscle. As to marine fish, snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii) showed significantly higher levels of DDT and its metabolites (1018 ng/g in ventral and 409 ng/g wet wt in axial tissues) than all other marine fish species. The overall concentrations of PAHs in marine fish species were 15.5-57.0 ng/g (axial muscle) and 18.1-118 ng/g wet wt (ventral muscle) where yellow seafin (Acanthopeyrus latus) and golden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus) exhibited the highest concentrations of PAHs in the axial and ventral muscles, respectively. In general, results showed that levels of PAHs in Hong Kong market fish was low and do not expect to cause any concern for human consumption. However, the levels of DDTs in fish samples ranged from 1.10 to 1018 ng/g wet wt, and based on a fish consumption rate of 142.2 g/day to calculate the screening value of 14.4 ng/g wet wt for human consumption (USEPA, 2000. Guidance for assessing chemical contaminant, data for use in fish advisories, vol. 1: fish sampling and analysis, third ed. EPA 823-R-95-007. Office of Water, Washington, DC), there were 9 out of 20 (45%) muscle samples of freshwater fish species and 14 out of 20 (70%) muscle samples of marine fish species had elevated levels of DDTs exceeded the screening value. It was also suggested to use ventral muscle for detecting concentrations of persistent organic pollutants in fish.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-468
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • DDTs
  • Freshwater fish
  • Health risk assessment
  • Marine fish
  • PAHs
  • Pearl river delta
  • POPs


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