Distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in commonly consumed seafood from coastal areas of Bangladesh and associated human health implications

  • Md. Habibullah-Al-MamunEmail author
  • Md. Kawser Ahmed
  • Md. Saiful Islam
  • Masahiro Tokumura
  • Shigeki Masunaga
Original Paper


Levels, distribution, possible sources and potential risks of 16 USEPA priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated comprehensively in frequently consumed seafood species collected from the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Samples were collected in winter and summer, 2015. The total concentration of PAHs (∑PAHs) in the examined seafood was 184.5–2806.6 ng/g wet weight (ww) in winter and 117.9–4216.8 ng/g ww in summer, respectively. The levels of ∑PAHs were comparable to or higher than those reported from other coastal areas. Seasonal variation was not significant for the majority of the monitored PAHs. Spatial distribution revealed that the seafood collected from areas with recent urbanization and industrialization (Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and Sundarbans) was more contaminated with PAHs than those from the unindustrialized area (Meghna Estuary). Low-molecular-weight isomers dominated the PAH composition. Molecular ratios suggested the abundance of mixed sources of PAHs in the Bangladeshi coastal areas with a slight imposition toward the petrogenic origin. A preliminary evaluation of human health risk indicated that the dietary PAH exposure from consumption of Bangladeshi seafood would certainly induce adverse health effects. This finding suggests the need to enhance risk management regarding seafood consumption through public advisory in Bangladesh.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) Seafood Health risk Coastal area Bangladesh 



This study was supported by the FY2016 Asia Focused Academic Research Grant from the Heiwa Nakajima Foundation ( The authors are also grateful for financial support for Dr. Md. Habibullah-Al-Mamun from the Research Collaboration Promotion Fund provided by Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences, Yokohama National University, Japan (Grant No. 65A0516). Furthermore, we are thankful for the kind help from the members of Dhaka University, Bangladesh, during the field sampling.

Supplementary material

10653_2018_202_MOESM1_ESM.docx (62 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 62 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan
  2. 2.Department of FisheriesUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  3. 3.Department of Oceanography, Earth and Environmental Science FacultyUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh
  4. 4.Department of Soil SciencePatuakhali Science and Technology UniversityDumki, PatuakhaliBangladesh
  5. 5.Graduate School of Nutritional and Environmental ScienceUniversity of ShizuokaSuruga-kuJapan
  6. 6.Faculty of Environment and Information SciencesYokohama National UniversityYokohamaJapan

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