Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 2055–2066 | Cite as

Benefit–risk assessment of commonly consumed fish species from South China Sea based on methyl mercury and DHA

  • Ping Wang
  • Shao-wei Chen
  • Zi-hui Chen
  • Wei-lun Huo
  • Rui Huang
  • Wei-xiong Huang
  • Jie-wen PengEmail author
  • Xing-fen YangEmail author
Original Paper


Even though a growing number of reports indicated favorable health effects with fish consumption, kinds of hazardous substances in fish were detected in fish and to be exceeded advisory limitation. Benefit–risk assessment of commonly consumed fish is urgently needed. We conducted fish consumption survey and fish sampling in the coast of South China Sea to assess benefit–risk effect of commonly consumed fish species. For local residents, weekly methyl mercury (MeHg) exposures from commonly consumed fish species ranged from 0.12 to 2.11 μg/kg bw. Apart from Muraenesox cinereus and Acanthopagrus latus, the rest of 92% (23/25) fish species were at low risk of MeHg exposure. Daily docosahexaenoic acid intakes via consuming specific fish were between 42.18 and 1687.04 mg/day. A total of 72% (18/25) fish species could provide 200 mg/day of DNA for local residents. Benefit–risk assessment assuming intelligence quotient (IQ) score model showed net IQ point gains between 1.53 and 5.65 points with consuming various fish species, indicative of large distinction of health benefit from various fish species. This study suggests commonly consumed fish species from China South Sea could bring much more positive effect than negative effect. Species-specific fish should be considered when providing recommendations of fish consumption. Muraenesox cinereus and Acanthopagrus latus should be minded with risk of MeHg exposure in taking large amounts.


Benefit–risk assessment Fish consumption Methyl mercury DHA 



Methyl mercury


Docosahexaenoic acid


Intelligence quotient


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and WHO


The Joint United Nations FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives


Hazard quotient


Provisional tolerable weekly intake


Desirable dose index


Weekly optimal intake



The study was supported by Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, China (Grant Nos. 2018A030323230 and 2018A030313913). We thank Gui-yuan Ji, Qi Jiang, Yan-jun Tang and Zhong-jun Dun from Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public Health, Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention for excellent support during the field work. We thank Xi-mei Wu, Shu-guang Hu, Jing Wang and Zu-jian Su from Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention for their supports in sample analysis.

Supplementary material

10653_2019_254_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ping Wang
    • 1
  • Shao-wei Chen
    • 1
  • Zi-hui Chen
    • 1
  • Wei-lun Huo
    • 1
  • Rui Huang
    • 1
  • Wei-xiong Huang
    • 3
  • Jie-wen Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Xing-fen Yang
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Risk Assessment Research Center, Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public HealthGuangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and PreventionGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Food Safety and Health Research Center, School of Public HealthSouthern Medical University (Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research)GuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and PreventionGuangzhouChina

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