Mixture risk assessment due to ingestion of arsenic, copper, and zinc from milkfish farmed in contaminated coastal areas

Yi Jun Lin, Min Pei Ling, Szu Chieh Chen, Wei Yu Chen, Nan Hung Hsieh, Yi Hsien Cheng, Shu Han You, Wei Chun Chou, Ming Chao Lin, Chung Min Liao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Human health risks associated with the consumption of metal-contaminated fish over extended periods have become a concern particularly in Taiwan, where fish is consumed on a large scale. This study applied the interaction-based hazard index (HI) to assess the mixture health risks for fishers and non-fishers who consume the arsenic (As), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn) contaminated milkfish from As-contaminated coastal areas in Taiwan, taking into account joint toxic actions and potential toxic interactions. We showed that the interactions of As–Zn and Cu–Zn were antagonistic, whereas As–Cu interaction was additive. We found that HI estimates without interactions considered were 1.3–1.6 times higher than interactive HIs. Probability distributions of HI estimates for non-fishers were less than 1, whereas all 97.5%-tile HI estimates for fishers were >1. Analytical results revealed that the level of inorganic As in milkfish was the main contributor to HIs, indicating a health risk posed to consumers of fish farmed in As-contaminated areas. However, we found that Zn supplementation could significantly decrease As-induced risk of hematological effect by activating a Zn-dependent enzyme. In order to improve the accuracy of health risk due to exposure to multiple metals, further toxicological data, regular environmental monitoring, dietary survey, and refinement approaches for interactive risk assessment are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14616-14626
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Arsenic
  • Copper
  • Human health
  • Interaction-based hazard index
  • Metal mixture interactions
  • Milkfish
  • Mixture risk assessment
  • Zinc


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