Microplastic contamination in edible clams from popular recreational clam-digging sites in Hong Kong and implications for human health

Theresa Wing Ling LAM, Yui Chain Jade TSUI, Yan Laam CHENG, Anson Tsz Hin MA, Lincoln FOK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The ubiquitous presence of microplastics in edible bivalves and the human health risks associated with bivalve consumption have raised public concerns. Farmed and market-sold bivalves have received the most attention, while wild bivalves have received much less scrutiny. In the present study, 249 individuals were examined across six wild clam species from two popular recreational clam-digging sites in Hong Kong. Of the clams, 56.6 % contained microplastics, with an average abundance of 1.04 items/g (wet weight) and 0.98 items/individual. This resulted in an estimated annual dietary exposure of 14,307 items per Hong Kong resident. Moreover, the potential microplastic risks for humans associated with wild clam consumption were assessed using the polymer hazard index, and the results indicated a medium degree of risk, indicating that exposure to microplastics through wild clam consumption is inevitable and poses a potential health threat to humans. Further research is needed to facilitate a better understanding of the widespread occurrence of microplastics in wild bivalves, and further refinements of the risk assessment framework can hopefully allow a more accurate and holistic health risk assessment for microplastics. Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162576
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume875
Early online dateMar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Citation

Lam, T. W. L., Tsui, Y. C. J., Cheng, Y. L., Ma, A. T. H., & Fok, L. (2023). Microplastic contamination in edible clams from popular recreational clam-digging sites in Hong Kong and implications for human health. Science of The Total Environment, 875. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.162576

Keywords

  • Microplastics
  • Marine bivalves
  • Biomonitoring
  • Human health
  • Risk assessment

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